The Spanish Health Service is comparable, and in many cases superior, to systems in other countries.

Medical

If you are ill and have not registered with a doctor, or if it is weekend or fiesta time and your usual doctor is not available, go to the nearest Hospital Casualty Department. Take your EHIC, form E121 or form E106, your passport or your official Spanish health (SIP) card. The E106 is for people who have moved permanently to Spain but have not reached pensionable age. The period of medical cover commences from the date you leave the UK. You must, however, apply and receive your E106 entitlement form before leaving the UK to ensure you are covered and to know what that cover entitles you to. The E106 is available from the The Pension Service, Tyneview Park, Medical Benefits, Newcastle upon Tyne. NE98 1BA. England. Tel 0191 218 7547, Fax 0191 218 7376 E121 Some male expatriates under the pensionable age become eligible for medical cover as dependants of their wife if she herself has reached pensionable age. For details contact The Pension Service (see above) If you are coming to live in Spain, or just visiting but suffer a particular illness, it is advisable to have a resumé of your medical history translated into Spanish, particularly with respect to any specific illnesses, drugs required or allergies. The Emergency number for all services (Police - Fire - Ambulance) is 112. Ask for the service you require and explain your problem. Multilingual operators are generally available.

Prescriptions

In general, the same as in England, most prescriptions for pensioners are free. However, prescriptions given by a hospital are different. These are, in effect, an authorisation to purchase the medicines/antibiotics that you need rather than a prescription and you will have to pay. The charges may, be reclaimed. When you are able to see your own doctor, take the hospital’s notes to him and you will then be given the correct prescription. Take these back to the farmacia where you purchased your medicines, together with the bill and the labels on the medicines cardboard container, and the pharmacist will then give you a refund. You must save the container that medicines or tablets came in as these contain the information/codes the chemist needs to get paid for the prescription. If you are not covered under the health service you will find that most drugs are far cheaper than in England. Also, many drugs and medicines only available under prescription in England are freely available over the counter in Spain.

X-rays

Hospitals and Doctors do not normally retain your Clinical test results, X-rays or Radiology Scan results. They are handed back to you, the patient. It is your responsibility to retain and store them safely in a dry place for future reference.

Hospital Admission

If you are admitted to hospital, the services provided include surgery, nursing care and catering. Pyjamas or nightdress are hospital issue. Only take a small amount of cash and a telephone card. Do not take jewellery, valuables or credit cards. Interpreters, mainly volunteers, are available in most hospitals.

Winter Fuel Payments

For British subjects living in Spain, the basic qualifications to claim for winter fuel payments from the British social services are that you must have been over 60 before leaving the British Isles. There are also additional payments for pensioners over 80. For advice on whether you qualify or not, contact: Winter Fuel Payments Centre Southgate House Cardiff Central Royal Mail Cardiff CF91 1ZH Wales UK . Office Hours 8:30am to 4:30pm UK time. Phone 00 44 (0) 29 204 286 35 Fax 00 44 (0) 29 204 286 76 Having your NH insurance number and personal details to hand when you phone will save much time.