26 Mar, 2013 @ 16:36
1 min read

Come to Spain for treatment, say health bosses

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HEALTH bosses say that foreigners coming to Spain for cheaper medical treatment could be the answer to the country’s struggling economy.

Medical tourism is now worth around €75 billion worldwide, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and tour operators, business leaders, private hospitals, and state health authorities in Southern Spain are hoping the region can benefit.

Dr Miguel Such, head of cardiovascular surgery at Malaga’s Clínico Universitario hospital, said: “Our objective is to attract foreign patients to Malaga’s many good private health centres and put Malaga on the global healthcare map.

“Spain’s tourism sector has been ignoring this market and we have been selling sun and sea without realizing that we could do much more.

“Our healthcare system is well regarded internationally, and there is significant demand from foreigners to use it.”

Prices for medical treatment in Spain are around 30% to 70% cheaper than in the UK and for patients from the US the savings are even greater.

For example, a nose re-shaping in a private UK hospital would cost a patient anywhere between €3,535 and €4,710, but in Spain the same surgery is available for around €2,400.

Prices for knee or hip replacements are also around half what they are in Britain.

Its reputation and high standards of care mean the Spanish healthcare system is currently ranked seventh in the world by the World Health Organization.

Frances Leate

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  1. Actually, the problem is that tourists (of all nationalities) come and Spain does not obtain the correct paperwork and documentation from them. The UK remiburses Spain for health treatments, but Spain’s systems are so chaotic and inefficient, and so they end up out of pocket through bureaucratic bungling. If Spain cannot work out who is entitled to treatment, and who is not, whose fault is that? Yep, Spain.

  2. ahh Fred you know the system well, I can see you left with out paying more than once…Out with all of you cheap english tourist… complain less and spend more.

  3. It is common to be sent a bill for a service or product which you have on credit. For instance, electricity. Just think; if a large concern, (like the N.H.S.) is not presented with an invoice, they don’t even know they owe the money, so of course, don’t pay it. No-one is jumping the taxi without paying. In this case, the taxi-driver is not holding his hand out for payment. Referring back to the article, the prostitution of any countries health service is to be deplored while ordinary (i.e. poor) people go to the back of the queue.

  4. Once again comments about Spain from those who only have ‘some’ knowledge about one particular autonomous region – Andalucia.

    Each autonomous region has it’s own health service and both treatments available and quality varies widely. What does this mean in practice for Spanish nationals and registered foreigners – if you leave one autonomous region you have to re-register in your new one and the new one refuses to use records from another region, so a whole load of new tests are made.

    If you need treatment holidaying or working in another region you have to pay and send in invoices to your registered region.

    Making an appointment for a hospital visit in Ferrol/Galicia is easy because they have 12 telephonists to take calls. Try to make an appointment by phone to a Granada hospital is futile as they only have (1) operative, which means in practice you have to visit the Granada hospital in question to make an appointment in person, which for my partner meant a round trip of 120K – you could’nt make it up.

    Also in Galicia the medical profession does’nt like foreigners, most doctors come from old fascist families. In Galicia there are no ambulances available to take patients home – you have to order a taxi, get a receipt (always difficult anywhere in Spain) and send that to the appropriate health dept. to get a refund.

    The doctors changed their minds about an operation on Angela’s badly fragmented humerus without informing either my partner or me that she was expected to find her own way home, even though she had no street clothes or shoes with her – so I made two arrogant doctors an offer – either she got an ambulance home or they were going home right there and then via the window of her room which was the equivalent of 6 stories high – she got an ambulance. I have to say that I would have made the same offer to arrogant UK doctors as well.

    The standard of care Angela received in Granada was very good but this was before the financial collapse.

    The very serious question is – if there is a mistake – would you want to have to engage with the legal system anywhere in Spain and do you think for one moment you would get any form of justice/redress as a foreigner let alone the Spanish.

  5. This is all about PRIVATE health care. So arguing about state health care is pointless. We all know spanish state health care is nothing to boast about! Its most definately worse than most other countries health systems. And as for private, well thats up the company and client to sort out.
    And if clients run off without paying than its Still a private matter.

  6. David M : where do you think “private” health care got it’s doctors and nurses from ? That’s right, from the state education system, that everyone who’s paid taxes, has chipped in for. ALL “private health care is simple queue-jumping, by virtue of the fact that it is possible in this system to, in effect, bribe ones way to the front of the line. When state health care is inferior to “private”, that’s when the state is being bled for the people it educated. Also of course, it’s not just people, but equipment, beds, buildings, operating theatres etc. As well, much of this treatment is for sheer vanity. Noses, breasts, tummy tucks. The list is endless and depressing. Health care should be universal and equal for all. Profit has no place in the Hippocratic Oath

  7. David M,
    so you have actual experience of health systems in lots of countries to make that statement?

    My partner’s treatment in Andalucia was excellent, that is her findings and as she is a retired tutor/professor of paediatric nursing I’ll take her word over yours, that is unless you have credentials to match hers.

    I also had experience of the healthcare in Galicia as I was nearly killed by a stupid woman losing control of her car whilst out jogging one day.

    By day 2 I had a private room which was cleaned twice a day and the food was excellent.

    The NHS has been destroyed by your friends in the Nasty Party and I would not like to ever have to stay in an NHS hospital now or in the future.

    As Stefanjo said, in Europe doctors do not have to pay for their training as is the case in the USA and there would be no private hospitals at all if the private sector had to fund their training – it simply would’nt exist.

    Perhaps you are unaware of just how many people die in the private sector from appalling standards.

  8. @Stuart: Yes, i do have experience of some other countries hostipals due to an adventuras past. And i do think numerous visits is a fairer comparision than one visit in one county.
    But really i was referring to the extensive published material of facts and figures – not Mr Joe Blogs unsubstaniated opinion.
    As for your other comments, i read you are wanting a row where one does not exist!? Nasty Party? who or what is that? the BNP? the greens? the WTF?
    As for that odd rant about the public paying for private medical education. Thats so wrong its just ridiculous.
    PS. If your partner has a recognised qualification, perhaps you could bother to use it. I bet he’s quite insulted!

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