Experiences will always differ. However, by and large, the health care in Spain is good. The Spanish hospitals are clean, the service efficient and the investigations into whatever your ailment is, are thorough. However, there are differences in the approach taken here that are worthwhile you being aware of.
To begin with, it will be expected that you provide your own day-to-day care. The nurses and doctors in the hospital are, as you would expect, focused on your health care rather than your living needs. So, it is expected that there is a member of your family or a friend available to help keep you clean, help you with your eating and attend to sanitary needs. With this in mind, many hospitals in Spain will also allow one of your family to stay over night if necessary.
Visiting hours, as you might guess from this, are flexible. However, there might be more restrictions when it comes to children and you should check what these are. Be aware that there is no guarantee that doctors will speak English. Many do but you should be prepared to bring an interpreter to begin with whilst you work out who knows what.
Make sure that if you are just visiting Spain you have your EHIC card ready, as you will be asked for this when you are admitted. If you are a resident then you should use your SIP card. If you have neither an EHIC or SIP card then you will need to have insurance if you are to avoid paying for your hospital visit and care yourself. The hospital administration will provide you with an invoice and a set amount of time to pay. As you might expect, it won’t be cheap.
There are private hospitals as well as public hospitals and if you have private health insurance you will be able to attend one of these. Even if you don’t, you can turn up at a private hospital and pay for the treatment you receive.
Spanish health care is quite ground-breaking in some areas. It is particularly well-known for its record and research in relation to transplants. Spain has arguably the best organ transplant system in the world. Organ donation at the point of death in the UK is 60%, in Spain it’s 85%. There are a number of reasons given for this including the well-organised structure that exists for approaching relatives and arranging for transportation.
Overall, as a foreigner in Spain there is no need to worry about the health care available to you. As long as you make sure you have adequate financial cover or proof of entitlement, either through the state or privately, you can expect a high level of treatment.