Health care in Spain

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According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, total health spending accounted for 9.4% of GDP in Spain in 2011, slightly above the OECD average of 9.3%. Spanish health care system is considered one of the best in the world, in 7th position in the ranking elaborated by the World Health Organization.[1] Health spending as a share of GDP is much lower than in the United States (which spent 16.9% of its GDP on health in 2012). The public sector is the main source of health funding in nearly all countries. In Spain, 73% of health spending was funded by public sources in 2011, very close to the average of 72% in OECD countries. Since 2010, real term spending on healthcare has declined in Spain.[2]


In an emergency you can go straight to a hospital A&E. For any other type of hospital treatment you’ll need a referral from a doctor. There are public and private hospitals. Only the public hospitals provide free treatment. Some hospitals offer both private and state healthcare services, so make sure the staff knows which service you want. When you go to hospital you’ll need to show your social security card or proof of private insurance. If you are discharged from a hospital and need medication, you have to take the hospital medical report to a pharmacy for the prescription to be fulfilled, as hospital doctors don’t issue prescriptions.

In Spain patients have the right to read their own patient records, but there is evidence that this right is not well publicised.[3]

International comparisons[edit]

In a sample of 13 developed countries Spain was second in its population weighted usage of medication in 14 classes in both 2009 and 2013. The drugs studied were selected on the basis that the conditions treated had high incidence, prevalence and/or mortality, caused significant long-term morbidity and incurred high levels of expenditure and significant developments in prevention or treatment had been made in the last 10 years. The study noted considerable difficulties in cross border comparison of medication use.[4]

The Euro health consumer index rated Spain 19th of 35 European countries in 2015, remarking that it relied a bit too much on seeking private care.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ World Health Organisation, World Health Staff, (2000), Haden, Angela; Campanini, Barbara, eds., The world health report 2000 - Health systems: improving performance (PDF), Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organisation, ISBN 92-4-156198-X
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Outcomes in EHCI 2015" (PDF). Health Consumer Powerhouse. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Office of health Economics. "International Comparison of Medicines Usage: Quantitative Analysis" (PDF). Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Outcomes in EHCI 2015" (PDF). Health Consumer Powerhouse. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 

External links[edit]