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Health Emergencies for Expats in Spain

Submitted: July 2013

Emergency numbers

The official emergency number in Spain is 112, which is the European emergency number. 112 emergency calls are generally free. You may also dial 061 in some regions. If necessary, you may be given treatment at home, or you may be sent an ambulance or a helicopter.

Cost

Health emergencies are managed by regional governments. Emergency treatment in public facilities is always free in Spain, even for foreigners. See National Health System for Expats in Spain.

In borderline cases, doctors have a considerable room for manoeuver to determine if you are facing an “emergency”. If you are not entitled to Spanish social security, it might be helpful to ask your doctor if your treatment qualifies as an emergency before going ahead with a consultation.

All Spanish healthcare facilities are not necessarily part of the SNS system. If you want to make sure that you are going to a public hospital, this information is available on the website of the Spanish Department of Health. More specifically, you should check the ownership status (dependencia patrimonial). More than 50% of Spanish hospitals are private. You should check if you are covered by your insurance policy, if have one. See Health Insurance for Expats in Spain.

Further, you may have to incur travel expenses if no hospital is close to you.

Emergency units

If you require urgent treatment, you should go to a hospital if your problem is serious (e.g. heart attack, severe bleeding). Otherwise, you must go to a primary care facility (centro de salud). Both normally run an emergency service on a 24/7 basis. If you have a doubt, you may call 112 or seek advice.

All Spanish healthcare facilities are not necessarily part of the SNS system. If you want to make sure that you are going to a public hospital, this information is available on the website of the Spanish Department of Health. More specifically, you should check the ownership status (dependencia patrimonial). More than 50% of Spanish hospitals are private. See Doctors and Hospitals in Spain.

The Spanish healthcare system is designed to make sure that primary care facilities are available within 15 minutes from any residential location. You are therefore more likely to have a primary care facility within reach. If it finds it clinically necessary, a primary care facility may refer you to a hospital.

A list of primary care facilities can be found here.

 

 




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