Information for Patients
The Spanish healthcare system, known as the Sistema Nacional de Salud (SNS) consists of an extensive network of government healthcare facilities easily accessible to all towns and villages. Patients must apply for the Sistema de Informacion Poblacional card, to be used whenever accessing government healthcare facilities or to obtain prescription medication.
Resident who have lived in Spain for longer than 5 years qualify for free-of-charge healthcare. Similarly, families who contribute to the Spanish social security system, Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social (INSS), are granted free access to healthcare. The contribution of one member of the family grants access to free healthcare service to their whole family. European patients over the age of 65 may register with the INSS for free healthcare services.
Patients holding the European Heath insurance Card (EHIC) who visit Spain for less than 3 months are eligible to access healthcare facilities in Spain at a reduced price or for free. However, the EHIC will not cover medical tourism.
Non-European patients who move to Spain before retirement and that do not work in Spain should seek private insurance.
An alternative to private insurance for patients who are not eligible for EHICs but that have been registered as a Spanish resident for a year, is the Convenio Especial. This is a monthly pay-in scheme that provides access to government healthcare facilities at a fixed price of €157 per person aged 65 and above, and €60 per person under the age of 65.
Private healthcare sectors are also available.
Information for Health Care Professionals
License to practice medicine in Spain is regulated by the Organización Médica Colegial de España (OMC). Members of the EU and EEA, or Swiss nationals, must apply through the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare with the following requisites: medical degree, medical license to practice from their home country, Spanish Language proficiency up to B2 level and proof residency in Spain.
Non-EU physicians must apply for registration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports and must obtain a work and residence permit in Spain. Additionally, a certificate of Spanish Language proficiency must be obtained up to B2 level.
The primary language of instruction in Spain is Spanish (Castillian). Catalan, Basque and Galician regions use their respective languages are primary language of instruction.
Information for Travelers
Spain holds one of the healthiest populations in the world. An unusual prospective challenge is the demand for social support services. The vast majority of terminally ill patients or patients in need of rehabilitation, rely on relatives for support. For this reason, the availability of public nursing and retirement homes is minimal.
Spain has a growing reputation for cheaper medical resources with high standards. Medical tourism has been popularly followed in Spain for cosmetic surgeries, fertility treatments, bariatric surgery and orthopaedic surgery. Spain has also been valued for its location and Mediterranean diet to increase benefits during recovery periods post-surgery.
The common language spoken in hospitals is Castilian. However, to accommodate medical tourism, the majority of hospitals have English speaking doctors or translators available.
Ministry of Health in Spain: https://www.mscbs.gob.es/en/home.htm