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Spain - Hospitals

Like most countries, Spain has both private and state-run hospitals. Some of the largest and best-equipped private hospitals are located on the Costa del Sol, which is a popular destination for expats. It is considered that the standard of private healthcare is excellent in Spain and there is almost no waiting time for treatment. Private hospitals also mean that there is a better chance of being treated by an English speaker, although many state-run hospitals have English speaking staff and translation services can be arranged if needed, although some already have a team of translators on the staff.

Most of the larger hospitals have an emergency department but other departments will only see patients with a referral from a doctor. Visiting hours in Spanish hospitals are not restricted. Family and friends can visit at any time of day or night and it is not uncommon for relatives just to call into the hospital to watch some television with the patient. Visitors are expected to help the patient with basic tasks such as washing and changing dressings.

Patients can choose to be treated privately if they are prepared to pay for treatment or if they have the necessary insurance, although waiting lists for state-run hospitals are much shorter than they are in the UK. The standards in public hospitals are just as good as those in private hospitals.

There are some well-respected hospitals in the major cities in Spain. In Barcelona the Hospital Sant Joan de Deu Barcelona is a well-known teaching hospital which specialises in paediatric medicine, as well as gynaecology. The hospital itself is owned privately by a religious organisation but is used by the Catalan Health Service. There are almost 400 beds and 12 operating theatres at this hospital and has a staff of more than 1200.

In Seville the Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocio is considered to be one of the main medical centres of the region. This hospital has a good reputation for pioneering surgery and has departments which cover all the main medical disciplines.

In Malaga and the surrounding areas there are a number of private hospitals with excellent reputations. One of these is the Hospital Parque San Antonio. This overlooks the sea and is located in a quieter area of the city. The hospital dates back to the 1960s and has one of the most respected cardiology departments in the country. Other departments include an A&E section, intensive care unit, a paediatric department and a maternity unit. The hospital has full-time translators on the staff for languages such as English and German. As it is a private hospital the rooms are singles and have their own balconies, television and safe. There are also facilities for a relative to stay with the patient and some patients can opt for one of the suites.

In Alicante the Hospital de Levante is a popular option. Located in Benidorm, the hospital is privately run and is easy to reach from all parts of the town. The hospital is equipped with the latest technologies. The Hospital de Levante has only been open for a few years but was developed to cope with the increasing demand for medical facilities in the region.

In Bilbao the Basurto Hospital is the main choice for those in the area. The hospital dates back to 1908 but now consists of modern buildings. Each block of the hospital houses a different department and all are equipped with the latest technologies. Departments work independently from each other. In recent years there has been some expansion to the hospital with additional departments created.

In the capital city of Madrid there are many hospitals to choose from. The Hospital Clinico San Carlos de Madrid Insalud is considered to be one of the best teaching hospitals in the country and it is closely linked to the university. The cardiology department is one of the largest in the country and has 32 senior consultants. In 2000 a sub-section of the cardiology department was created in the form of the Arrhythmias Unit. The department carries out research alongside treatment of patients. Other departments include an accident and emergency department, maternity, paediatrics and a number of out-patient clinics.

Useful Resources

Directory of Spanish Hospitals

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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