Foreign travel advice
Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures. Country specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website and by NHS (Scotland) on the fitfortravel website. Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website.
If you’re visiting Spain, you should get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. The EHIC isn’t a substitute for medical and travel insurance, but it will cover you for any necessary treatment you receive at a public healthcare centre or hospital during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Spanish nationals.
You should produce your EHIC prior to treatment. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate. You’re under no obligation to provide travel insurance as payment for necessary treatment in a public healthcare facility and you can insist that your EHIC is accepted. Some hotels may call private doctors or ambulances to take patients to private hospitals; the EHIC won’t be accepted there. For more information visit Healthcare in Spain.
The EHIC won’t cover medical repatriation, or any private care. Private hospitals won’t accept the EHIC and will ask you to pay for your treatment or provide evidence of adequate insurance.
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately. As a general rule, if you need hospital treatment in Spain you’re more likely to receive appropriate care in a public healthcare facility (although in some tourist areas there may be no public healthcare facility nearby). Your insurance/medical assistance company will be able to provide further details.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance.
If you plan to live in Spain, you should look at alternative forms of health cover and visit the British Embassy website for more information.
Further information on accessing healthcare in Spain for visitors is available at Healthcare in Spain.