Health Care System: Spain has a public health system so health
care is free or low cost
if you pay
social security (families and retirees are also included). Like many
however, the public health service has waiting lists to see specialists
and for non-urgent operations.
If you do
not qualify for public health care then it is essential that you have
private health insurance; you may not be allowed in the country
without it. Even if you are under the public health care system it
advisable (if you can afford) to have private health insurance in order
to skip the waiting lists and receive treatment quickly. The most popular
private health plans are Adeslas and Sanitas.
Hospitals: Generally the larger towns have the best hospitals,
which can be found by following signs with a big white 'H' or looking
in the Yellow Pages under
a hospital (except in the case of an emergency) you must present either
a social security card, evidence of private health insurance or proof
of ability to pay the bills. If the insurance company does not pay
to the hospital
directly then you should pay yourself (credit cards are generally accepted)
and claim this from the insurance company at a later date.
system of educating
doctors in Spain is very different from that used in North America.
As is common in Europe, medical doctors receive their training as
undergraduates. With public health care, you will usually be assigned
a general doctor where
your social security card.
With insurance, you will be able to select a primary care doctor
from those affiliated with your plan. There are a number of doctors
in Spain who speak English, especially in
areas, including doctors who received their training in English speaking
countries. Embassies and consulates usually maintain lists of such
Many drugs, including antibiotics, that are available only
with a prescription in other countries may be obtained directly from
pharmacists in Spain without a prescription. For those drugs where
a prescription is required, when
given a prescription by a doctor you can pick up the drugs or medicines
from a pharmacy which displays the sign of a green cross.
Most pharmacies are open from 09:30 until 13:30 and from 16:30 until
20:00 from Monday to Saturday. Outside of those hours a notice will
be posted of the nearest pharmacy open after 20:00. There are 24
hour pharmacies in all towns, which pharmacies are indicated by a
red light on the pharmacy sign.
If you have
a prescription, you pay only 40% of the medicines' cost.
in depth information on this topic, we highly recommend:
and Working in Spain: A Survival Guide
link above to check the price at Amazon UK.