If you contemplate moving to Spain, note that the Spanish government prioritizes its healthcare arrangements. There are several reasons why anyone might relocate. Regardless of the reason, you will need to receive medical attention at one point. Because of the Spanish government’s dedication to its healthcare, it is among the best worldwide.
Spain has a solid network of hospitals and centers. Some even rank among the best in Europe. It is not a surprising that Spaniards also have one of the highest life expectancies. They also lead one of the healthiest lifestyles. Whether you are a foreign resident or visitor, this article has information that will help you better understand the healthcare system in Spain.
The Public Healthcare System
The backbone of Spain’s healthcare is its public system. It is available countrywide and financed primarily through social security contributions. In Spain, the responsibility of public health falls under regional governments. Although the national directives are primarily similar, regulations differ from region to region. Still, you can expect to find similar types of treatments countrywide.
The public system in Spain is impressive. Compared to the rest of the world, it outperforms most. It is necessary to note that there have been some cutbacks in staff and facilities since the economic crisis. Another vital piece of information is that public healthcare is free of charge apart from prescribed medication.
The public system begins at the local level at Centros de Salud. Once you sign up, you are assigned a general doctor. In some regions of Spain, children younger than 12 years are each allocated a pediatrician. The health centers have different facilities and also vary in size.
The smallest centers usually have one or two surgeries, while the largest come with x-ray facilities, specialist clinics, and emergency care. All major towns in the country, at the very least, have one public hospital. In big cities, there are several hospitals. Most public hospitals offer a wide array of medical services. However, some specialize in particular fields of medicine, such as maternity and pediatric hospitals.
As previously mentioned, patients pay for prescription medicines. In most cases, they don’t pay the entire price either. Depending on region or status, you pay a certain percentage of the prescription.
The Private Healthcare System
Apart from a thriving public healthcare system, Spain also has a private healthcare sector, complementing the former. While the public system is financed through social security contributions, the private sector is financed via insurance policies. If you are visiting the country, having the best travel health insurance for Spain will give you access to the best private hospitals if the need arises.
Over the last few years, private healthcare has become more popular. Now more than before, Spaniards are getting private medical covers, especially in cities and large towns. That is where private hospitals and clinics are thriving. In the private sector, you can opt to receive services from a practitioner in a private hospice.
Other options include access to specialists and facilities for tests, scans, and x-rays. There are also surgeries for general doctors. Because private hospitals are primarily in the cities and large towns, you might have to travel to access their services if you are from a small town.
Pros Of Spain’s Healthcare System
1. Expert doctors and quality services
The medical staff in Spain are highly-trained. All doctors have to spend several years training, and they also have to undergo and pass a rigorous national examination to become qualified. Therefore, whether you receive medical services from public or private hospitals, you are assured of expert services.
In the public system, you can visit several different specialists and doctors. It is beneficial, especially for conditions where one might require different expert opinions.
2. Most prescriptions are discounted
Most medications prescribed directly by the doctors or medical practitioners in public healthcare are either heavily discounted, or fully covered in some instances. It makes typically expensive medicine accessible to the general public.
3. Public healthcare is free
Residents of Spain have access to free quality healthcare. This system is financed by taxes, in the form of social security. A staggering portion of the population, over 99%, utilizes the public system while a tiny percentage opts for private healthcare. The reason behind this is that healthcare is high-quality. Overall, the public system also offers excellent pediatric healthcare and mental healthcare.
There are a few disadvantages to Spain’s healthcare, mainly the public sector.
- The treatment waiting list can sometimes be quite long.
- It is not always possible to choose your doctor.
- It is not easy to encounter an English-speaking staff which can be a challenge if you cannot understand or speak Spanish.
In 2019, Spain was ranked the healthiest out of 150 nations by the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index. If healthcare is a top priority when considering whether to move to Spain or not, then this is perfect for you. Remember to consult potential medical insurance providers for a good cover when residing there or visiting.