A Quick Guide to the Spanish Medical System – Hints & Tips

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[Pincha aquí para la versión en español]

There’s a lot to organize once you’ve decided to move to and live in another country, whether it’s only for the semester or for a whole year. Either way, healthcare is something you cannot arrive without. We know you probably have a lot of questions about the Spanish healthcare system and how it works, so we’ve laid out the basics for you here. For more comprehensive descriptions, information, and helpful links, read our Madrid Essentials guide!

About the Spanish Healthcare System

The Spaniards are proud of their extensive & accessible healthcare system and for good reason. The country offers a “universal” type of system for its residents and this system is considered within the top 10 in the world by the World Health Organization

The public system includes what are known as “Centros de Salud” also known as centers for primary healthcare as well as public hospitals. You’ll also see green crosses marking pharmacies all over the city, where you can buy all kinds of medicines and personal care products for a relatively low price. If you choose to sign up for private medical insurance then you’ll be able to take advantage of the country’s private sector, which offers several benefits like direct access to private specialists and private hospitals.

Important Numbers & Contacts you should know

* This centre of the Comunidad de Madrid is open from Monday to Friday (9am to 2pm). Students and young people in Madrid can get free legal advice in person with regards to Housing, Legal Status and more. in addition to general guidance the center will also provide you with further expert contacts depending on your topic.

Health Insurance: Europeans vs Non-Europeans

Health Insurance for European Residents

The European Health Insurance Card is your best friend; it’ll allow you to get the same medical services as Spanish residents. But remember having this card doesn’t guarantee free services

Once you’ve arrived in Madrid with your card, visit your closest health center (centro de salud) with your ID, passport and European Health Insurance Card to be assisted

For recommendations on an additional private insurance for your time abroad, check here!

Health Insurance for Non-European Residents

You will need proof of health insurance for the duration of your stay in Spain before your arrival in Madrid (private health insurance). This is a requirement for the visa application process

Before you arrive, be sure you understand the conditions of the plan you have (i.e. which services are covered and where)

The Citylife Healthcare Advice Hotline

We have established a Healthcare Advice Hotline via WhatsApp for you. The advice hotline will be managed by us in collaboration with HM Hospitales for all healthcare related questions as well as by Sinews Multilingual Therapy Institute when it comes to psychological assistance. Attention is given in English & Spanish.

We have established a Healthcare Advice Hotline via WhatsApp for you. The advice hotline will be managed by us in collaboration with HM Hospitales for all healthcare related questions as well as by Sinews Multilingual Therapy Institute when it comes to psychological assistance. Attention is given in English & Spanish.

Healthcare Institutions in Spain – Citylife’s Recommendations

HM Hospitales

If you have a private insurance, we highly recommend HM HOSPITALES! They are the leading Hospital Group in Madrid covering all medical and surgical specialties, with 6 general hospitals and 3 Comprehensive Centres super-specialised in Oncology, Cardiology & Neuroscience ensuring that patients receive a 24/7 fully personalised and comprehensive service! They will liaise with your insurance directly carrying out all the necessary procedures on your behalf so you do not have to do any paperwork. With their team of interpreters, they will even attend you in your own language!


Alternatively, you can also check out the services provided by Quirónsalud, a group of medical hospitals and centers all over Spain, and Europe, providing a full range of medical services to internationals. Quirónsalud also offers an at home medical service free of charge (Quirónsalud will asume the costs in case your insurance does not cover you).

Clinica Souki

CLINICA SOUKI is a benchmark in the field of personalized dental care in the heart of Madrid. The clinic specializes in all areas of dental treatment and has its own team of professionals, trained in renowned, prestigious, international schools.

They offer an exquisite treatment in your own language:  Spanish, English, French, Arabic and Portuguese. Click here for more information!

Sinews Multilingual Therapy Institute

Are you struggling with your life abroad? Do you need help with anxiety and/or mood issues? Even if you are just looking for someone to talk to, at SINEWS MULTILINGUAL THERAPY INSTITUTE you will find native licensed professionals who speak your language in a comfortable and confidential setting.

They offer psychology, psychiatry, speech therapy, online therapy, coaching, nutrition, and accent reduction in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Hebrew, German, and Polish. With a wide range of prices and continuous scheduling from Monday to Saturday, they are the best option in Madrid for therapy. Click here to read more!

Farmacia Marta Maci

FARMACIA MARTA MASI has always had a passion for pharmaceutical technology and dermocosmetic care. She worked hard to be the owner of one of the most innovative pharmacies in the dermocosmetic council, in the Salamanca district of Madrid. The constant concern to improve the skin of women and men has led to a new line of masks being a big success. You can e.g. consult Farmacia Marta Masi for free and ask for the best treatment for your skin.

All of their product can be ordered conveniently online and have them delivered to your home. Click here for more information!

Farmacias Trebol

FARMACIAS TREBOL is one of the biggest pharmacy chains in Spain with locations all over the city offering a free membership card (5% discount) and a great online shop with lots of discounted drugs with free & quick shipment within Spain!

Giofactwin Medical Appointments

GIOFACTWIN MEDICAL APPOINTMENT is the perfect app for your medical assistance when you are abroad. It locates medical centers within your area and allows you to request appointments for medical consultations.

Choose your nearest center, the app will show you a map with the route to get there and connect you directly with the International Deparment of the medical center. Once there, they will take care of you, giving you and your relatives support and assistance during your stay at the hospital. Download it FREE on App Store (iOs) and Play Store (Android)!

We hope this has been helpful, and as always, if you have any questions Citylife is here to help! Contact us by email at info@citylifemadrid.com or by writing us a WhatsApp at +34656190745. We look forward to seeing you and happy travels!

Leah has been living in and exploring Madrid since 2013 when she moved to the city for a simple summer abroad. After falling in love with Madrid, she started the Citylife Blog in 2014 with the goal to share everything there is to know about her favourite place on earth! In her spare time you will find Leah at some of Madrid's many museums and cultural exhibitions.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • My sister wants to bring my brother right away because he badly injured his knee. It was explained here that it’s important to know the right contact number needed in case of emergency. Furthermore, it’s recommended to go to a trusted walk-in medical clinic for quality health care.

  • Buenas tardes!

    Soy argentina con nacionalidad italiana. Estoy viajando con mi pasaporte italiano y quería obtener el seguro médico para residentes de la Unión Europea. Donde debo presentarme y como puedo obtenerlo?

    Desde ya gracias!

    Saludos cordiales,

    Solar G. Ximena

  • PeterHarris
    10/02/2019 09:52

    Do we need to change doctors when we move to another nearby town.


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