Health Care In Spain
Moving to Spain usually involves a few of basic activities such as learning Spanish, looking for a job (if outplacement was not the reason for moving), finding a new house and a looking for a proper school for your children. Once accomplished, you will experience you are not only living in a different country, but also in a different culture.
Most people do experience living in another culture as an opportunity to learn more about life in general. Reading about another culture is one thing, living in another culture is quite another. Although the Spanish culture is a Western one, it still differs in many ways from British or American culture. The medical culture in Spain is also different in certain aspects. The level of medical care is usually good to excellent. The health care insurance system equals more or less the systems in the United States and in Great Britain: a national health care system which offers the opportunity to all kinds of people to be provided with basic health care and a private system where you can go to if you decided to upgrade your medical insurance by paying more each month.If you are only insured by the National Health care system you can use the medical services provided by the Spanish National Health (Seguridad Social). The CAPs (Centro Ambulatorio Publico), the Ambulatorios and the Public Hospitals are all available. Most people go directly to a hospital for medical problems, so a system of general practitioners is not extensively available. It depends, though, on the region you are in. In the big cities the private system usually is much more common than in the towns.
Before you leave when going on holiday, find out if you need to take a special card with you (visit the NHS website for more details if you are coming from the UK) saying where you are insured and mentioning a worldwide phone number to ring in case of emergency.
If you have a private insurance you can also use the medical services of the National Health Care system. Using the services of the private clinics, you have to make sure that your company pays you back big expenses. If you need to be admitted to the hospital, it is wise to inform your insurance company beforehand about the possible costs.
In Spain there are millions of private clinics. From small local outpatient clinics to huge private fabrics. The art of finding the appropriate doctor is not always easy to learn. If you speak Spanish you will usually succeed in finding the right one. But once inside the consulting room sometimes you would like to talk in your mother tongue to be able to be understood as clearly as possible.