At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
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’re 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.