The public healthcare system in Spain is generally considered to be of a high standard. Spanish hospitals are modern and well equipped, and staff are knowledgeable and highly trained. Most hospitals in Spain also have accident and emergency departments. While there are many English-speaking doctors in Spain, this is not a given at every hospital, in which case a voluntary translation service is sometimes available.
The National Health Service of Spain has a wide network of hospitals and health centres located throughout the country. These health centres provide primary healthcare that includes GP services, nursing and paediatrics, social workers and physiotherapists.
Anyone who pays into the Spanish social security system can make use of government-subsidised public healthcare. As with many other European destinations, expats or visitors who are from another European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) country and can present a valid EHIC or equivalent will be able to use the Spanish public healthcare system at the same cost as locals. UK citizens can make use of their Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which replaced the EHIC for UK citizens post-Brexit.
For the most part, unemployed, non-EU citizens will not be able to use the public healthcare system. As such, non-EU citizens should take out comprehensive medical insurance to cover private healthcare costs.
Spain has some bilateral agreements with countries such as Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil and Andorra, and citizens from these countries can also benefit from government hospitals and medical care in cases of medical emergencies or accidents. In order to make use of these services, expats will need to carry a health certificate from their country of origin or pay for the services upfront and claim a refund once they have returned home.