Spain is a renowned medical tourism destination. Despite recent economic woes, the sunny climate, several vacation spots coupled with abundance of high quality medical facilities that makes Spain a very attractive destination
for medical tourists.
The Spanish health system is sophisticated and offers many high-quality facilities at the fraction of cost of hospitals in the United States and neighboring countries, attracting a growing number of medical travelers from the British Isles as well as from the Middle East and North Africa.
Problems with rising cost of healthcare and long waiting times have driven medical tourists from the UK and Ireland to seek alternative healthcare providers elsewhere, and Spain has pulled through as a preferred health tourism destination.
Healthcare System in Spain
The World Health Organization (WHO) has ranked the Spanish healthcare system as the 7th best in the world
. According to a more recent 2014 Bloomberg report
on efficiency of health care systems, Spain scored better than Switzerland, Sweden, Canada and Germany and way above United States that scored 44th place. Spain has more than 800 hospitals
serviced by 450,000 doctors and nurses. All of the hospitals in Spain are recognized and supervised by the Spanish Ministry of Health
Spanish doctors are trained for at least 6 to 7 years before they are qualified
and can be given their degrees. Specializations, such as those required for surgeons, require additional years of study and training before the doctors are certified as licensed.
There are several health facilities in Spain, both private and state-owned, that have specialized departments catering exclusively for medical tourists. International patients can avail themselves of the services of English-speaking doctors and medical staff, who have undergone rigorous medical schooling and practical training in institutions that are recognized in the European Union and the General Medical Council in Great Britain.
There are 23 health facilities in Spain that are accredited by the Joint Commission International
. These facilities are also accredited by the Fundacion Avedis Donabedian
(FAD), an accreditation partner by the JCI. Most of the JCI-accredited health facilities are hospitals, while others offer ambulatory care or care continuum programs.
Major Hospitals for Medical Tourism in Spain
Common Treatments Done by Medical Tourists in Spain
Hospitals and healthcare facilities in Spain offer top-of-the line procedures and services for medical travelers, including complicated medical procedures and treatments, which include but are not limited to the following:
Cost of Medical Treatments in Spain
It is estimated that on average, medical tourists from the US and UK can expect savings of 30%-70% for many procedures
. The following are cost comparisons between Medical procedures in Spain and equivalent procedures in the United Kingdom: [1
|Total Knee Replacement
||£9,000 - £10,000
||£6,000 - £7,000
||30% - 33%
|Carpal Tunnel Release
|Hip Resurfacing Surgery
|Face Lift (rhytidectomy)
|Breast Augmentation (Mammoplasty)
||£3000 - £5000
||£3,000 - £3,500
||20% - 35%
||£4,000 - £4,500
||£3,800 - £4,300
||4% - 5%
||£3,000 - £4,000
||£1,500 - £2,000
||40% - 50%
|Nose Lift (Rhinoplasty)
||£3,000 - £3,800
||£2,400 - £2,800
||20% - 26%
|Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)
||£4,500 - £5,000
||£3,500 - £4,000
||20% - 22%
||£450 - £500
||£250 - £300
||40% - 44%
|Dental Implants (Branemark System)
||£1,800 - £2,000
||£700 - £750
||11% - 61%
|Root Canal (one canal)
||£200 - £250
||£80 - £100
||10% - 60%
|Tooth Whitening (Britesmile method)
||£550 - £600
||£300 - £350
||41% - 45%
Malpractice and Liability Laws in Spain
The National Medical Association in Spain has adopted the malpractice and liability standards
that were set by the World Medical Association.
In Spain, the public hospitals, health centers and medical practitioners have coverage from private insurance companies.
There is currently (as of 2009), no insurance system for private doctors and hospitals, and liability claims are paid directly from the health institution's budget.
Excellent healthcare systemSpain healthcare system is ranked 7th best in the world (WHO World Health Report )
Reasonable costs of accommodation and foodSpain maintains a low cost of living, resulting in cost-effective travel, hospital and hotel expenses
Easy to get aroundSpain is a highly developed country, where airports, roads and trains are modern and convenient.
Vacation destinationSpain offers an excellent culinary and vacation environment for medical travelers recuperating from treatments and procedures
PricesThe prices of certain medical procedures are higher when compared to medical tourism destinations in Asia or Eastern Europe.
Nursing standardsSpanish nurses, although highly trained and efficient in what they do, do not perform nursing duties that are normally carried out by their counterparts in other countries, such as personal care and feeding. For this reason all Spanish hospitals allow at least a single companion for 24 hours a day
Traveling to Spain
There are several major airline carriers traveling to Spain directly from major cities in Europe, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Train lines from most European cities are also available.
Air travel - average estimated travel time in hours
Entry and Exit Requirements to Spain
Medical tourists coming to Spain from any of the EU member states do not need a visa to enter Spain. They need to produce proof of nationality such as a passport or a national identity card.
Medical tourists to Spain from Africa, Asia and the Middle East need a visa prior to entry and should coordinate with the Spanish embassy at their countries of origin.
Medical tourists coming from the US and Canada can stay for up to 3 months without an entry visa requirement.
Statistics for Medical Tourism in Spain
Spain is expected to double the number of medical tourists to 200,000 that visit the country by 2019
. The country is currently investing heavily in the market to pursue this goal to attract visitors from the EU, Russia, Morocco and the US.