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

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

If you are 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 and have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) there should be little worry about Spain’s health care system.

After all, medical care in Spain 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 EHIC at the hospital or local health center, and you will 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 quite as good, or you may have to travel further to get it, so consider this if you are planning on moving to Spain.

Don’t forget too, if you are extremely sick and cannot get to the health care clinic or hospital, a general practitioner will come to your hotel or home and treat you there. Sadly, 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. Downloading a free Spanish dictionary app to your mobile phone could also be helpful.

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, and follow a typical Spanish diet, 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. Once registered, however, your medical care will still be free or extremely cheap.