If you are planning to move to or simply visit Barcelona, make sure you get informed about everything you need to know before travelling. Health and Medical Care is a topic that is particularly important, in case you have the need to seek medical attention while in Barcelona.
Let’s start with the basics: Spain presents no special health risks, meaning you don’t have to get inoculated before coming to Barcelona. Commercial processing, handling, cooking and serving foods obey very strict Spanish laws, which makes the food safe for consumption. The tap water is also treated and therefore, drinkable.
The quality of the Spanish healthcare system is very good, with professionals that will treat you with care and attention. Some of the doctors and staff in the clinics and hospitals speak English, but it’s always better to have a couple of Spanish medical terms memorized or written down, just in case you have difficulty communicating what you are feeling.
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Related article: 100 Years of Health: L’Hospital del Mar
The Spanish Healthcare System
If you are going to be living and working in Barcelona, you can apply for CatSalud, the public medical aid that allows you to have appointments with doctors and have exams done for free. To apply for CatSalut, you need to have a Numero de Identificación de Extranjero (Foreigner’s Number of Identification), also known as NIE, which you can request at one of Barcelona’s Comissarias de Policia when you get your first work contract. You will also need a document of Empadronamiento, which is simply a document stating that you are living in a certain area, determining in what neighborhood you will receive your medical attention. The Empadronamiento is obtained at your local Ayuntamiento.
If you are coming to Barcelona as a visitor, you will not be able to receive free medical attention, except if you are European and have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
If you get sick during your stay and you need medical treatment, you can either visit a doctor or the emergency room at one of the local hospitals, or a private practitioner. In either case, you will be billed.
If you are not European, the best thing you can do is to contact your insurance company to learn what are the options offered for medical assistance in other countries. If your insurance does not cover any situation outside your country of residence, it may be a good idea to consider traveler’s insurance.
Passeig de la Vall d’Hebron, 119-129
Hospital del Mar
Passeig Maritim de la Barceloneta, 25-29.
Carrer de Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167