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Healthcare & Medical Treatment

Malaga - Healthcare & Medical Treatment

Contributors to the Spanish social security system are entitled to free healthcare through the network of Centros de Salud and hospitals. Social security numbers are issued through your employer, or it is just as easy to obtain your own from the Social Security Office at Calle Ingeniero de la Torre Acosta, 5. Self-employed workers are also required to pay into the social security system, and are therefore also entitled to free healthcare. More details on the Spanish social security system for employed, self-employed and retired people can found at www.seg-social.es, the official website which can also be read in English.

Registering with a doctor is relatively straightforward. You need to register with the Centro de Salud or Health Centre nearest to your home. A list can be found in the yellow pages or at www.paginasamarillas.es, searching for Centros de Salud. To prove your residence, you will need to take with you either a rental agreement or a recent utility bill. You will also need to take a copy of your social security number, and the letter received from the social security office, as well as your NIE (numero de identificacion para extranjeros). Most health centres require appointments made in advance. You will, in time, receive a tarjeta sanitaria, or health card, which proves that you are entitled to free healthcare in Spain, and enables you to see a doctor anywhere in Spain.

Many health centres also offer a 24 hour drop in service, which saves you having to go to the hospital's emergency department, unless of course the need is urgent. Hospitals in the area are modern and well-equipped. In the city of Malaga, the large Carlos Haya Hospital Complex is in fact four hospitals The Hospital Materno Infantil is the city's main centre for women, childbirth and children, The Hospital Civil San Juan de Dios caters for procedures requiring a short stay, The Hospital Ciudad Jardin is for terminally ill patients, with the remainder of medical matters dealt with at the general hospital building in Avenida Carlos Haya.

Outside of Malaga, The Costa del Sol Hospital is situated on the main A7 coast road in Marbella and claims to be one of the best equipped hospitals in Spain.

In both hospitals, some voluntary translators are at times available to help with medical explanations, although this is not guaranteed. Due to the high number of expats in the area, many hospital workers will speak even a little English, however taking a Spanish speaker with you may help with peace of mind when dealing with nurses and doctors.

The telephone number for emergencies in Spain is 112 and 061 for direct access to the local ambulance service.

EU citizens who hold an E-111 certificate can also receive free healthcare for three months, however after this period residents are either expected to register with the social security system, or take out private health insurance, which will give you access to a number of private hospitals in the area.

Due to the high number of expats in the area, there are a number of private clinics which are either focused entirely for English speakers, or who have English speaking members of staff. A list of these clinics can be found here.

Many Spaniards also choose to take out private health insurance, either full or 'top-up' to avoid lengthy waits to see a consultant or for non-urgent operations. The main health insurance providers are include Mapfre (www.mapfre.es), Caser (www.caser.es) and Sanitas (www.sanitas-salud.com). As always, it is wise to check through all policies and cover before purchasing, to ensure that your cover is at the level you require. A private health insurer covering the Costa del Sol from Sotogrande to Torremolinos includes a hospital transfer and doctor call out service, even helicopter transfer if required. Cover can be arranged by calling Helicopteros Sanitarios on 952 816767.

Dentists are not covered by the Spanish social security system, yet prices are not to costly which means dental care is accessible to most people. A list of local dentists can be found in the Yellow Pages, or by personal recommendation. A list of dentists that speak English can be found at www.viva-malaga.com

Opticians are not covered either, but the major optician chains such as Mi Optica and + Vision can be found in Malaga's main shopping centres and streets. A list of opticians in the area, as well as their services, can also be found at www.viva-malaga.com

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.