There is more to Spain than bullfights, flamenco music and dance, exotic beaches and plenty of sunshine. Past few years have seen Spain gain prominence for its excellent medical system that offers low cost and quality medical treatment for patients from all over the globe.
Over the last few years, Spanish healthcare system has improved in leaps and bounds and currently is something that both the administration and the practitioners can be justifiably proud of. U.S. and U.K. patients stand to benefit much from the vast medical offerings that Spain offers.
Spain Health Care System
With so much to offer it is no surprise that the WHO health care rankings place Spain at 7th position for best health care system in Europe. The same report says that the Spanish are second-most satisfied with their health care quality in Europe.
Not surprising at all because Spain's economy has been on the stronger side of the scale and this has helped modern hospitals and well-trained health care professionals to spring up, giving Spain everything needed to be seen as an up-and-coming destination for medical tourism.
There are more than 750 hospitals, 1.21 million beds and 450,000 doctors and nurses offering 2.4 million surgeries per year. The Spanish health industry bears an excellent reputation of the essential post operative care after any kind of surgery. This has led to millions of tourists flocking to Spain for medical treatment last year.
Even though few differences in health policy exist between the British and Spanish health systems, overall, they are very similar. Spain's excellent National Health Service works well with the brilliant private health sector. Just like in Great Britain, the national health care offers basic health care to all kinds of people and the private system to opt for if patients feel the need to upgrade their medical insurance by paying more each month.
The reason why Spain has become a highly regarded medical community in Europe is because Spain has lower cost of living yet the standard of living is much higher. The prices vary depending on the area with the cost of living much higher in the city centers whereas rural areas offer better cost advantage. The costs and standards of health care, subsequently, vary according to the geographic location.
Spain offers a diverse set of medical treatments which is equivalent to the best of the world, some say it's better than those in U.K. Barcelona and Madrid have excellent network of hospitals that are second to no other country. Spanish medical system represents every possible medical specialty:
Major hospitals feature the latest high-tech equipment and the required staff to operate them. Most of Spain's clinics and hospitals feature a specialty wing offering special privileges for the medical tourist. Some of these include proving patients the choice to select the doctors to treat them. There are plenty of chemists (farmacias) in Spain and they can be spotted by looking for a large green cross.
Doctors and Surgeons in Spain
In Spain, a sizeable number of doctors speak English fluently or at least can manage to understand and communicate. Patients can even find help in the form of a voluntary interpreter as certain public hospitals have interpreter service at all hours of the day.
Doctors in Spain undergo rigorous training and study to remain on par with the best of the world. Medical schooling and practical training in Spain is equivalent to that in any European country. It is usually common for Spanish doctors to spend time working in other countries of EU and sometimes in U.S. as well. Many prestigious doctors, researchers and scientists from Spain have made a good name for themselves in the UK, United States, France, Germany, and other regions.
Surgeons in Spain are usually highly qualified and are trained for 6 or 7 years before they obtain their degrees in general medicine. Those aspiring to jump into specialist fields of surgery, such cosmetic surgery, are required to undergo a further study time of at least 5 years. Numerous surgeons in Spain are registered with the General Medical Council in Great Britain.
To gain valuable experience and recognition within their field of expertise, Spanish doctors treat patients in the public centers. This helps both public and private medical centers in Spain greatly.
On the flip side, the nurses' work ethic is a bit different from British and American nurses. Spanish nurses are well-trained and efficient, but they don't perform some duties that British nurses carry out, like personal care and feeding. These are carried out by the patient's companion. All hospitals, for this reason, allow one companion to be with the patient 24 hours a day.
Costs, Travel and Recuperation
Prices for medical treatment in Spain vary depending on the surgery or the corresponding treatment. However, patients can easily expect around 30% to 70% savings. For example, a nose re-shaping in a private U.K. hospital would cost patients anywhere between GBP 3,000 and GBP 4,000, but in Spain the patients can get the same surgery for GBP 2,400.
Another example, cosmetic surgery in U.K. is around 60% more than in the Spain, and knee or hip replacements, are around half of the cost in Spain that the patients would pay in United Kingdom.
Traveling to Spain is also not very difficult; in fact, it is easy and efficient. There are plenty of low cost airlines from the UK with some of the flights starting at as little as GBP 19.99 one way. At around two and a half hours, the journey time from U.K. to Spain is also very short.
Since Medical tourism not only involves curing illnesses but also total health rejuvenation, Spain has made a name for itself because of the numerous health spots. Many of the hospitals and clinics are located in some of Spainâ€™s most exotic location. The soothing warm environment makes a real good ambience for a relaxed recovery after the surgery.
Medical tourists can take some solace from the fact that the Spanish are among the world's healthiest people. The average life expectancy is the highest in the EU: 80 for women and 74 for men. Spain has the lowest occurrences of heart diseases in the world, and this is attributed to the Spanish Mediterranean diet. Medical tourists recuperating after a surgery stand to gain a lot from the same.
Medical Tourism in Spain in a Nutshell:
Excellent environment and dietary conditions for recuperating patients
Low cost travel and hospital stay
30-70% cost savings
adequately trained and experienced doctors and staff
English speaking professionals and interpretation services
Study placed Spain as 7th best health care system in Europe
Wide variety of treatment options
Spain -- An Overview
Spain is located in South Western Europe on the Iberian Peninsular sharing borders with Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco, France, and Principality of Andorra. The Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea also come under Spain.
Spain has one of the mildest climates in the Europe with summer remaining mostly dry, sunny and hot with temperatures varying from 17C to 37C. Winters are usually windy, rainy and cool with temperatures between 2C and 18C. There are occasional sunny days in winter.
Spain has a very family orientated culture and the people are generally open-hearted and communicative. Compared to other countries, Spanish wages are generally lower but the cost of living is also less and hence the general lifestyle also better. Although Spanish is the chief language, other regional languages are also prevalent. Plenty of people in Spain speak English, predominantly on the coast and in hotels.
Spain has no dearth of luxury and budget resorts to choose from. Villas can be rented in the picturesque rural mountains at very low cost. These villas provide for some tranquil time in the midst of pine forests and rolling hills. There is a wealth of facilities for tourists in the Costa del Sol beaches like wonderful stretches of sand, where tourists can take advantage of the sun's healing rays to move their recovery period along nicely.
One of the best things about Spain is the country's food and wines. Provinces known for wine are Rioja and surrounding areas; and almost all of Spain is famous for excellent fish and meat dishes. In addition, nightlife in Spain is vibrant and usually extends till dawn. Discos, music bars, night clubs, dinner / dancing venues and clubs can be found in the urban and semi-urban parts of the country.
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