Information about medical care services can be obtained from the website of Spain´s National Social Security Institute (Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social), the Institute´s local offices or from the offices of the regional health services (Servicio Regional de Salud). You can ask the offices for the contact information of health centres, doctors and hospitals belonging to the public system. You also obtain contact information by area from the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality.
Public healthcare in Spain is free of charge.
In certain parts of Spain, especially in the islands outside mainland Spain, there may be a long journey to treatment services within the public system.
You will be able to access a general practitioner (médico de familia) or paediatrician (pediatra) directly when you seek treatment at a health centre (centro sanitario or centro de salud) or at the consulting office (consultorio) of a doctor within the public system. You can see a specialist if you have a general practitioner´s referral. Make sure that the doctor treating you belongs to Spain´s public healthcare system (asistencia sanitaria pública or asistencia del Sistema Nacional de Salud) and present your European Health Insurance Card and ID at the appointment. In this way, treatment is free. It is a good idea to have a paper copy with you, so that you can show the original card at the reception desk and give the copy to the doctor.
Be aware that some health centres, doctors and hospitals may also provide appointments for private patients. There are different appointment times for public and private patients, however. If you are asked for a payment, you will not be receiving treatment within the public system; rather private treatment. In that case, the European Health Insurance Card will not be accepted, and you will be charged the full price for treatment. In Spain, you must pay for private treatment yourself.
Dental care is usually available in the public healthcare system, nor are its costs reimbursed. Only cases requiring urgent treatment are free of charge in the public healthcare system.
When you collect prescription medicines prescribed by a doctor in the public system from a pharmacy (farmacia) in Spain, present your European Health Insurance Card and ID.
All customers must pay a share of their medicine costs by themselves. If you are staying in Spain on a temporary basis, you pay a 50 per cent co-payment for necessary medicine treatment by showing your European Health Insurance Card. Pensioner tourists pay a 10 per cent co-payment. Finnish pension recipients permanently residing in Spain usually pay the 10-per cent co-payment too.
You can collect medicines from any pharmacy. If it is not apparent from the date of birth on your health insurance card that you are a pensioner, you may be asked to provide additional proof.
You can access hospital treatment with a specialist´s referral. In urgent cases, however, you can go directly to an outpatient clinic (ambulatorio) or a hospital (urgencias). When you present your European Health Insurance Card and ID, in addition to the referral, at the hospital´s reception desk, treatment, including medicines, will be free of charge. Otherwise you will be regarded as a private patient and you will have to pay for treatment.
Ambulance transport is free if transportation is necessary for a medical reason and you present your European Health Insurance Card.
If you have to pay all costs yourself
If you have to pay the full price for treatment at a local public healthcare unit for which you would have been entitled to reimbursement with a European Health Insurance Card, you can apply for reimbursement retrospectively. You can apply for reimbursement either from the health insurance institution of the destination country or from Kela on form SV 128.
The website of the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality has a search service where you can find a public or private hospital. The search service is in Spanish and operates primarily on the basis of geographical area.
The General Registry of Health Centres Services and Establishments (REGCESS) enables you to search for information about public and private healthcare providers in Spain and about their services. The registry includes hospitals, clinics and other treatment facilities, medical centres and, for example, optician and pharmacy services. You can set the search criteria in English or Spanish. The information on places of treatment is mainly in Spanish.
Additional information about healthcare service providers in Spain is available on the website of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality in Spain. All of the Regions of Spain have their own websites concerning regional healthcare services. Some regions have listed service providers on their websites (see list of links at the end of the page) and information, for example, about waiting lists. For example, the website of the Region of Madrid has lists of provincial hospitals and medical centres.
The website of the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality has a list of patient associations in Spain that may be helpful if you are seeking treatment for a specific disorder.
You require a GP´s referral to see a specialist. If you have a referral provided by a doctor in Finland, check in advance whether the place of treatment will accept it.
Costs of treatment
The Regional Authorities often publish information about prices for public healthcare provided in their region on their websites. You can also contact the place of treatment you choose directly and ask them about the costs of treatment. The service price list of private hospitals and medical centres can usually be viewed on the website of each facility.
Quality and safety of treatment
The Regional authorities in Spain supervise the quality and safety of healthcare services provided in their region. You can obtain additional information by contacting the authorities for the region in which your place of treatment is located.