Doctors in Spain join politicians hitting out at expat health

by Ray Clancy on January 25, 2010

Second home owners and expats in Spain are furious that doctors are claiming that they are milking the country’s health system.  Politicians have been complaining for years that thousands of Brits who regularly moved between their home in Britain and Spain arranged trips according to when and where they might get the best treatment. Now they are being back by doctors.

And it is expected that more regions, which are autonomous in matters of health provision, will start introducing new rules where expat below retirement age who are not registered to work and pay into the system will not get free health care.

The move is becoming increasingly popular in areas with large numbers of Brits such as Valencia which introduced the new rules two months ago. Expats face paying €90 a month if they want to access free treatment.

The rules don’t apply though to second home owners who are not in the country full time. SiMap, the union that represents Spanish doctors, claims that they are abusing the system by using the European Health Insurance Card which in theory is for providing emergency care and treatment for holidaymakers.

The organisation claims that many are carefully coordinating travel depending on their medical needs and where they can best jump waiting lists.  It wants its member to quiz foreigners more carefully to find out if they really are in an emergency or distressed situation. Until now doctors have been reluctant to question the patients’ claims.

Meanwhile, a survey shows that expat Britons in Spain are the next most likely to want to return home. Some 37% questioned by foreign exchange provider Moneycorp, said they are considering a move back.  They said they are worried about their future as the recovery in Spain continues to lag behind the rest of the eurozone. Many have also been affected by Spain’s current unemployment rate of 17.9%, since many of the jobs that have disappeared have been in Spain’s devastated property industry which is traditionally a major employer of UK expats.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jack February 6, 2010 at 9:32 am

Hi..I left quite a few comments including a good talk around the point of our world and people’s perceptions
but it seems that the truth is something from which every one runs away and doesn’t print…as with the media agreeing for 40 years not to print what is happening within the Bilderbergers secret organism.

When ignorance is bliss, why sound the alarm?

Cheers Jack

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