Spanish Healthcare

Public and Private Healthcare in Spain

StethoscopeHealth is an important consideration and it’s a good idea to learn about the Spanish and Catalan health systems so that if you have an emergency or need to visit a doctor you know how to go about it. Here I explain how to register with a doctor in Spain and the documentation you will need to do that.

For those people coming from the UK, the EHIC replaces Form E111. Form E111 is no longer valid.

Applying for the EHIC is very easy, apply for European Health Insurance Card online here. You can only do this if you are resident in the UK.

You can also apply by post – collect the application form from a post office; or telephone 0845 606 2030 (UK).

Are you an EU citizen?

The situation varies according to whether you are an EU citizen, and whether you are in Spain on a temporary or permanent basis, and I can only write about what applies to EU citizens.

First of all, before you leave your home country you need to apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This is very easy to do and enables you to reduced cost and sometimes free health care in all the European Union countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, but only if you are on holiday or staying for the short-term.

How to Register with a Doctor in Spain

CatSalut signThe Catalan Public Health system is called CatSalut Servei Català de la Salut and just as in the UK you need to register with a doctor before you can use their services. The national health surgery centres are colloquially known as CAP.

In order to register with a doctor you need to have a Spanish social security number and be registered at your local Ayuntamiento (town hall) first (see details on how to register at your local Ayuntamiento here). Your registration paper (empadronamiento) must be less than three months old. As always, you will need some form of photo identification such as your passport.

To register with the social services I recommend that you either use a gestor or ask a friend to help because if you don’t speak Spanish it can be very difficult. The main social security office is opposite Estació de França.

Useful Phone Numbers

General emergency: 112.    Medical emergencies: 061.    Ambulance: 092.

CatSalut: Tel: 934 038 585. web.gencat.cat/en/

Sanitat Respon: 24-hour helpline Tel: 902 111 444

Healthcare for Residents in Barcelona

Once you have all the necessary documentation go to your local CAP and register with a doctor. You will be given a provisional identification document document identificatiu provisional and a permanent health card: targeta sanitària individual TSI will be sent to you by post. This TSI is valid throughout Spain.

If you need more specialised treatment, the CAP doctor will refer you to other specialist departments, and if you require emergency treatment at a hospital you will also be covered by your targeta sanitària individual. Or, you can of course, phone the health emergency number: 061.

If you are a pensioner retiring to Spain, you will be eligible for a TSI and free prescriptions. If you are self-employed autónomo, you have to make monthly payments to the social security system in order to qualify. If you are employed in Spain, part of your wages are deducted to cover national health care.

If you need emergency medical care you will always receive it, but if you have failed to register with the necessary authorities you may end up receiving a bill for your treatment, so it’s something well worth organising.

Private Health Insurance for Expats

  • Sanitas (part of Bupa): www.sanitas.es
  • Cigna: www.cignaglobal.com
  • Bupa: www.bupa-intl.com/for-you/country/healthplan-complete
  • Allianz: www.allianz.es

Staysure

Staysure.co.uk offer health insurance to British nationals living in Spain who are over the age of 50 (there is no upper age limit).

Their private medical insurance includes a worldwide network of doctors, private hospitals and clinics. Although there is no upper age limit, premiums do increase over the age of 80; however, Staysure do have a no claims discount system. There is a 24 hour helpline serviced by trained medical staff, as well as a call centre in the Costa del Sol.

www.staysure.co.uk

Full Assistance Medical Service for Foreign Patients

Clínica Sagrada Familia is a private clinic which offers a support service to foreigners in Barcelona. It’s a private clinic, so you need to have private medical insurance or pay for your treatment. The clinic has been established for over 40 years, and offers a comprehensive array of specialities from general practice to heart surgery.

Clínica Sagrada Familia offers a high quality medical service. They provide full language translation, accompanying patients to outpatient or emergency visits in strict confidence, mediating and clarifying any medical query that may arise. This personal assistance comes at no additional cost to the medical treatment you receive. You need to always take your ID and insurance card.

To summarise their service:

  • Free onsite translators 24/7
  • All medical services, specialities and emergencies 24/7
  • Express emergencies in case of minor pathologies
  • Arranging specialist consultations with the minimum delay (all specialities)
  • Doctor callout, 24 hour service
  • All lab and RX-tests and hospitalisation, on ward or ICU
  • Direct billing to foreign insurance companies
  • Ambulance service 24/7
  • Escorting and support to the patients with special requests
  • Special attention to avoid major delays and inconvenience associated with visits to the clinic
  • In case of hospitalisation, admission to suit/VIP room with TV
  • Free wi-fi

Clinica Sagrada Familia, Carrer Torras i Pujalt 1, 08022 Barcelona (Sant Gervasi)
Phone: +34 628 604 412
Email: sagradafamilia@tcassistance.com
csf.com.es/en/csf-3/international-department/

Healthcare in Spain for Short-term Stays and Holidays

The situation varies according to whether you are an EU citizen, and whether you are in Spain on a temporary or permanent basis, and I can only write about what applies to EU citizens.

First of all, before you leave your home country you need to apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This is very easy to do and enables you to health care at a reduced cost and sometimes free in all the European Union countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, but only if you are on holiday or staying for the short-term.

To see a doctor in Barcelona (and Catalonia) you should go to your nearest CAP Centre d’Atenció Primaria. The CAP is a public surgery and you can find your nearest one by visiting their website: http://catsalut.gencat.cat/es/centres-sanitaris/index.html

Provided you have your European Health Insurance Card you will be able to see a doctor at one of the CAP surgeries without charge. The surgeries are open from 8.30am to 8.30pm and there is a 24 hour help line: 902 111 444. If you have to pay for any medical service, keep your receipt as you may be able to claim it back when you return to the UK.