Due to a high standard of living many foreign nationals are choosing to relocate to Spain on a permanent basis. One of the biggest concerns facing these newly arrived expatriates is the quality and availability of healthcare in the country. Overall, the Spanish healthcare system is of an extremely high quality and able to provide a high standard of treatment and care. The majority of healthcare facilities in the country are well equipped with the latest technology and able to provide a myriad of treatment options.
If you pay social security in Spain then all healthcare treatment is free. This is one of the major points that is attracting the large amounts of immigrants that are currently seeking to enter the country. The Spanish healthcare system is extremely similar to the British NHS, and ensures that all tax paying residents will receive a high standard of virtually free healthcare. The major draw back with this system, as many opponents are starting to point out, is the fact that the healthcare system in the country is starting to reach saturation point, and access to this free, high quality care is becoming increasingly difficult.
Outside of the public healthcare system, approximately 6 million Spaniards have private medical insurance. This is due to the fact that public hospitals are now starting to become seriously overcrowded and some individuals feel that they cannot afford to wait for the treatment that they need. Generally medical insurance offered in Spain is of a high standard; however, when compared to the policies available in other countries many individuals complain that the coverage is limited.
Outside of the overly bureaucratic and overcrowded public healthcare system in the country, the major complaint in regards to Spanish medicine revolves around nursing staff and facilities. Spanish nurses, while competent, are not generally trained up to the standards of many other European Union nations and are unable to provide anything for their patients outside of the most basic services. The flipside to this is, however, that many hospitals will allow a patient to have a visitor stay with them 24 hours a day, and this visitor will typically perform many of the services usually provided by nurses (feeding, companionship, etc.).
Spain is able to offer high quality medical treatment and healthcare services to anyone in the country, however if you are not a member of the national security scheme, or do not have quality health insurance, the costs at many of the best Spanish hospitals and clinics are extremely high. We can provide international medical insurance plans that will afford you and your loved ones the protection that you need anywhere in the world. Spain expat health insurance plans that we can offer to expatriates living in Spain, or Spanish nationals around the world, will provide you with a number of coverage benefits including hospitalization, out-patient treatment, maternity and dental, specialist consultations, alternative therapies, complimentary medicine, and emergency evacuation.
Spain Travel Tips
Traveling or relocating to a new country can be difficult, especially if you are not informed about the local culture. While Spain is an extremely modern nation in western Europe, there may be some local laws or customs with which you are unfamiliar. In an effort to make your journey more pleasant we have provided some brief travel advice below.
Please be advised that the information contained herein is meant for reference purposes only and is liable to change without prior warning. Please consult a travel expert before you depart for Spain.
Currently there is a high global threat from terrorism. The Spanish government states that there is also a high threat of terrorism in Spain due to certain ongoing local political situations. In the event of a terrorist attack, stay calm and follow the directions of government officials.
Before flying airlines will require passengers to supply their date of birth, nationality, and passport number. This is in an EU wide effort to improve security.
Every year millions of tourists visit Spain. Most visits are trouble free and the main incidents for which foreign nationals will require consular assistance is with regards to cases of petty theft and lost or stolen passports.
There have been incidents of assault and sexual assault in Spain that target tourists. As such you should be cautious and avoid traveling alone or in poorly lit areas. There have also been a number of cases of ‘date rape’. Never leave your drink unattended or drink any beverage which has been out of your sight.
There is a high accident on Spanish roads. It is recommended that you take steps to familiarize yourself with Spanish Driving regulations, and should you choose to drive while in the country, practice extreme care at all time.
Under Spanish law anyone under the age of 18 is considered to be a minor and will need parental or adult supervision. If an unattended minor comes to the attention of Spanish officials they may be placed into a ‘minor’s home’ until a legal guardian is found.
While in Spain you must carry some form of identification on your person at all times. Failure to do so can result in a fine or arrest.
It is illegal to smoke in any public place in Spain. The penalty for doing so can range from €30 to €600.
Do not become involved with drugs during your stay in Spain. Possession of even the smallest amounts of narcotics can lead to detention or a fine. Possession of a large quantity of drugs can mean jail time and deportation.
Spain is a predominately catholic country, and as such many of the nation’s local laws and customs reflect this. If you visit any religious establishments while in Spain (synagogue, mosque, or church) you should be respectful at all times.
Official Name: The Kingdom of Spain or Reino de Espana, also known as Espana or Spain.
Capital: The Spanish capital is the city of Madrid, located in the center of the country. Madrid is also the name of the province where the capital is located.
Location: Spain is situated on the Iberian Peninsula in South-western Europe . The country shares land borders with Portugal, Francia and Andorra. Spain also lays claim to two autonomous cities located in North Africa which share borders with Morocco. Spain also shares a water border with the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Bay of Biscay, and Gibraltar.
Size: With a total area of 504,782 square kilometers the Kingdom of Spain is roughly the same size as Turkmenistan or the US state of California.
Climate: Spain has a temperate climate. The weather in the country is characterized by clear, hot, summers and cool to cold winters. The best time for tourists to visit Spain is from May to September.
Population: There is a total population of approximately 40,448,000 people in Spain. As such Spain has the 31 st largest population in the world.
Life expectancy at birth: There is an average life expectancy for Spanish residents of 79.78 years from birth. Spain has the 19 th highest life expectancy in the world, which is mainly due to the progressive healthcare systems and networks evident in the country.
Prevalence of HIV/AIDS: Approximately 0.7% of the Spanish population has HIV/Aids. This is equivalent to approximately 140,000 people. In global terms Spain has the 65 th highest Aids rate in the world.
Major illnesses: Spain is a modern country and as such there is a fairly limited risk of disease. The major healthcare threats come from sunburn and dehydration in the summer and hypothermia in the winter. As such it is recommended that you take suitable precautions against the climate.
Ethnic Groups: The majority of the population of Spain claim Spanish ethnicity which is a mix between Mediterranean and Nordic ethnicities.
Languages: The official language of Spain is Spanish, which is spoken by 74% of the country's population. 17% of the population speaks Catalan, 7% Galician, and 2% Basque.
Religion: 94% of the total Spanish population observes Catholicism, while the remaining 6% of the population practices a wide array of religions.
Government: Spain is a parliamentary monarchy. As such the King of Spain is considered to be the head of state, however the monarch has no actual power in the day to day running of the country, this is instead handled by the parliament which is elected by the Spanish population.
Head of State: King Juan Carlos I. The king has no actual political power and is more of a figurehead in terms of state.
Head of Government: President of the government Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. The president of the government is involved in the day to day running of the country and is the leader of the majority party in parliament.
Military: Spain has a comprehensive military with an army, airforce and navy. The country spends 1.2% of its GDP on the armed forces.
Economy: The Spanish economy saw a period of growth from 1986 – 1990, however after a recession in the European Economy during the early ‘90's the economy's growth slowed dramatically. Currently the Spanish economy is experiencing another period of growth, and under the socialist leadership of President Rodriguez, has seen the standard of living and level of social services, including healthcare, improve dramatically.
GDP: Spain has a purchasing power parity of US$ 1.326 trillion and an actual GDP of US$ 1.153 trillion, the 13 th highest in the world.
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