Health and safety
Healthcare in Spain
Spain has an extensive network of health centres and hospitals throughout the country. Initial care is provided by the health centres which are located so that travel time should not exceed 15 minutes from any location. In rural areas there are clinics staffed by doctors who attend regularly. Hospitals provide specialist care for which referrals are made by health centre medics. In addition, some hospitals and health centres provide emergency services.
Website of the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs: www.msc.es
EU citizens are entitled to free hospital care and, on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), they will receive the same health benefits as Spanish citizens during a temporary visit. The period covered is stated on the EHIC which is valid in the countries belonging to the European Union together with Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The EHIC can be obtained at the health institution in the country of origin. This card does not entitle the holder to private health care services which must be paid for directly, or covered by insurance.
Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have the same health benefits as EU member countries. In addition, citizens of those countries with which Spain has a bilateral agreement (Andorra, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru) will also receive free medical and hospital care in the case of an emergency or accident. The corresponding certificate must be forwarded to the country or origin. Citizens of other countries will receive treatment in an emergency, but the treatment must be paid for, so it is advisable to arrange medical insurance.
In an emergency you should call the toll-free emergency phone number 112 which is valid throughout Spain. The service is provided in Spanish and, in tourist areas, also in English, French and German.