Spanish hospitals, What are they really like?

Spanish hospitals, What are they really like?

My personal views and experiences on Spanish hospitals and the care that they provide.

Dont panic the hospitals here are very good…

Heres an updat to this post….

2 days ago i hurt my back and had great pain so i had to go to the hospital thats very near my house just 5 mins away. i had an appointment for the doctor for 2 days later but just couldnt wait as the pain was so bad. i called them and they put me through to a doctor who said come in now. i went to emergency with my wife and waited just 3 mins to be seen. the doctor said it was lumbago and that i needed a injection of 3 different things for inflation and the pain. i was not in there more than 10 mins. The next day at 10 am a doctor called me and asked how i was feeling.

When i lived in the uk it would take a week to get an appointment and then never did a doctor call after to see how i was.

If you’re living in Spain and seeking emergency services or a Spanish hospital, you will find the Spanish healthcare system offers a wide range of quality public and private hospitals in Spain.

To qualify for free services in health centres and Spanish hospitals, you must either be registered with the state healthcare system, have private healthcare insurance, hold an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) or be a national from a country with a bilateral health agreement with Spain – specifically, Andorra, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru. If not, you will be asked to pay medical fees unless it’s an emergency. Here is a helpful guide on registering with the Spanish health system.

British Expats living and working in Spain will likely have access to the country’s free state healthcare insurance as i do, but some Spanish hospitals offer a combination of both public and private healthcare, so make sure it’s clear which type you want before seeking treatment.

After registering with Spanish healthcare, you must pick a designated doctor as your primary care provider before visiting a Spanish hospital, unless it’s an emergency of course. Once you have taken these steps, you can typically see your doctor free of charge and, following referrals from your médico de cabecera, and  also see specialists.

For every visit to a public or private Spanish hospital, you must bring your goverment issued health card (Sistema de Informacion Poblacional or SIP) or proof of private insurance and another form of ID to claim free or subsidised healthcare services.

Public and private Spanish hospitals


The Spanish healthcare system is made up of private and public healthcare, with some Spanish hospitales (hospital in Spanish) and healthcare centres (centros de salud) offering both private (privado) and state healthcare services (asistencia sanitaria pública). You can find more Spanish healthcare terms in our Spanish medical dictionary.

Before going to the hospital in Spainit is first important to determine what healthcare services are available to you depending on your healthcare coverage – whether it’s provided by the state, private healthcare insurance providers, your home country through the EHIC or bilateral agreements – and be clear on what type of service you want. Private hospitals in Spain, for example, do not accept the EHIC.

Doctors in Spain typically provide their patients with an outline of the servics they are entitled to in a brochure called the Carta de Derechos y Deberes or Charter of Rights and Obligations, which can also be accessed online. It’s best to do prior research instead of being surprised with substantial medical fees.

Public and private hospitals in Spain are ranked among the best in the world but there can sometimes be long waiting lists to visit specialists and non-emergency operations under the state system. Patients seeking to see a specialist through the state system have to be referred by their doctor, while those with private health insurance may be able to visit a specialist directly. Some private health insurance companies have lists of approved private hospitals, doctors and specialists clients must choose from.


Some doctors and senior health professionals working in Spanish hospitals in larger cities and popular tourist destinations speak excellent English, while nurses and other staff won’t always be English speakers. There are typically more English-speaking doctors in private hospitals in Spain but state-run hospitals also have English-speaking medical employees or translators on staff.

Davids Personal hospital experience.

Last year I had an operation on my eyes here at a private hospital in Almeria.

I had a small problem with one eye and looked into laser eye surgery for both eyes but was very apprehensive. After going to the hospital i was refereed to a private hospital as i didnt want to wait. They suggested not just laser eye surgery but new lens implants for perfect vision, a major operation and i would not be able to go out for a week, after wearing glasses for 10 years i was  keen to get rid of them for ever and have perfect eye sight.

All the staff were top class and many of them spoke English. it was a private hospital but the service was amazing all the way.

It was a strange experience as i was awake and my eyes open for the surgery but although a little uncomfortable there was no pain at all.

I had monthly check ups every month and now have a 6 monthly check ups. All is great and i am very happy with my new eyesight and the very good service i have had. Now i am glasses free.

a few years ago i needed an emergency operation on my hand that i cut as i was working here. I needed 20 stitches and 6 weeks of follow up treatment at the doctors and clinics. All the doctors were brilliant here and the service was as good or better than any i have had in the Uk. if you are worried about the hospitals in Spain then i can tell you that after 15 years here i have had excellent treatment every time.

Even small appointments at my doctors are fast and easy to get seen.



One of my doctors was trained in the uk at my home town.


Have you had good or bad experiences at hospitals in Spain?

Moving To Spain? What to do First see here..

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