Visiting a Doctor in Barcelona



When visiting a doctor in Barcelona, the situation varies between an EU and a non-EU citizen.

EU citizens should first apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This allows the bearer a reduced cost and sometimes free health care in all EU countries. This card is only valid for state provided services and not for private hospitals or treatments.

For non-EU citizens who are permanent residents in Spain and are paying into the Spanish social security system can obtain their EHIC in Spain.

The Catalan Public Health System or CatSalut (Servei Catala de la Salut) requires one to register with a doctor before using the doctor's services. To find and register with a doctor, visit the nearest Centre d'Atencio Primera (CAP).

In order to register, a Spanish social security number is required as well as a registration at the local town hall (Ayuntamiento). The registration paper must be less than three months old. Social Security is availed thru the employer (a requirement for them) or can be directly applied by self-employed workers.

The public health system is considered to be excellent. There are no outside expenses except for prescription medicine. Dental care and optometry are also not covered but not considered costly. There is also private health insurance and about 10% of the city population buys into it.

The CAP is a public surgery and provides emergency treatment. The surgeries are open from 8:30am to 8:30pm and there is a 24-hour help line: 902 111 444. There is also a health emergency number: 061.