What is Medical Care Like in Spain for Visiting EU Citizens?

Hospital de Santa Cristina, Madrid copyright M. Peinado, Creative Commons


If you’re injured while on a trip to Spain or come down with some type of illness, as long as you are a resident or citizen of an EU country there should be little worry about Spain’s health care system.  Medical care is universal and financed mainly be the Spanish government through a massive national health care system.

Taken ill?  All you have to do is present your European Health Insurance  Card (EHIC) at the hospital or local health center and you’ll get treatment either free of charge or for a nominal fee.  Treatment is excellent in most areas, but particularly in cities or in areas with a large tourist population. In smaller towns, care may not be as good, so consider this if you’re planning on moving to Spain.

Don’t forget too, if you’re extremely sick and can’t make the health care clinic or hospital, a general practioner will come to your hotel or home and treat you there. Not the case in many other countries anymore.

In large cities and tourist areas, medical care workers usually speak excellent English. If you find yourself needing help in a smaller area, you might have to struggle by with miming and pointing or get a Spanish-speaker to accompany you.

Don’t forget too, Spaniards are now the world’s second-longest living people, which is put down to the extremely healthy Mediterranean diet most of them consume. So, chances are, if you spend a long time in Spain, move or retire there, your health will probably improve too.

** The above information only applies to temporary visitors to Spain. If you plan on residing there long-term, you will have  a lot more paperwork and registration to do, in order to access Spanish health care. Still free or cheap though.

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