Spanish Hospital Waiting Times Reach Highest Levels

By Editorial 29 August, 2013

New figures released by Spain's Ministry of Health show that patients seeking non-urgent operations at public hospitals during December 2012 had to wait on average 100 days, up from 76 days in the preceding June, representing the longest waiting period since records began in 2004.

In total, 571,395 people were recorded as waiting for non-urgent operations. This was an increase of 6.4 percent over the course of just over a year. Some patients also had to wait more than six months for treatment, despite a law mandating that operations should not be delayed for longer than this period. Also, the average waiting time for seeing a specialist for the first time has increased by six days, up to 59 days.

The Government announced healthcare cutbacks of EUR7bn in 2012, and many Spanish doctors and nurses have been seeking work abroad due to lack of employment opportunities in Spain.

Health Minister Ana Mato was quoted as saying that efforts are being made in all regions to improve the situation. Madrid's regional health chief has claimed that waiting times have increased in his region due to anti-privatization strikes by health workers.

Earlier this year, it was reported that some British expats seeking non-urgent treatment had been turned away from hospitals or had been asked to make an up-front payment. However, in some cases expats had sought to access healthcare via their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is designed for temporary visitors. The UK Government and the Valencian Health Authority launched an awareness-raising campaign explaining that British expats should instead register for Spanish social security under the S1/E121 scheme.

Tags: Health Care | Spain | Expats | Healthcare | Healthcare |


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