American gives high praise for Spanish healthcare 

High praise for Spanish health care

A patient in consultation with a doctor. Credit: S_L/

An American who is new in Spain took to social media to highlight how much better he felt the healthcare system was compared to his home country.

A recent visit to a doctor in Spain left an American astounded by the affordability and efficiency of the Spanish healthcare system, contrasting sharply with his experiences back home.

Healthcare in Spain: A foreigner’s perspective

In February, following a ten-day illness, an American national and his wife, who recently relocated to Barcelona, sought medical assistance. They were part of a trial three-month stay to determine if Barcelona would be a suitable place for them to settle.

Surprisingly, their medical experience was not only swift but cost them the equivalent of a mere $40, in stark contrast to the $1,000 a month he typically pays in the US for health insurance.

Opinions on national healthcare

Despite the positive experience shared by foreigners, the Spanish themselves hold a more critical view of their healthcare system.

A Health Barometer from the Ministry of Health, based on data from the Centre for Sociological Research (CIS) in February 2023, reveals that only 56.7 per cent of Spaniards believe that the National Health System functions well or quite well.

A seamless experience

The process of receiving medical care involved a brief 20-minute wait and a $29 fee, as the couple were not eligible for free medical services.

‘The way to give us the prescription was an email that had a couple of QR codes,’ the man explained on TikTok. This digital approach allowed them to collect their prescription using just their mobile phone at any nearby pharmacy.

The overall simplicity and lack of waiting times left the couple exceedingly impressed, indicating their surprise at the huge contrast to the US system.

Efficiency that speaks volumes

The cost-effective and efficient service highlighted significant differences between healthcare systems. The doctor’s consultation fee was $29, and at the pharmacy the medication cost them just $11.

He emphasised, ‘We spent $40 and without insurance’, highlighting the substantial savings compared to the fees and lengthy waiting times they had experienced in the US.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Arturo

      14 April 2024 • 10:29

      Under the Spanish health care, I was put on a priority list in January 2023 for a cataracts operation, I was given 4 bottles of eye drops to put in one eye every 15 minutes for one hour before the operation, the eye drops are now out of date and I’m still waiting

    • Brian

      14 April 2024 • 19:31

      I was ignored for the 2.5 hours as I waited in our local hospital ER with really terrible stomach pain while everyone else who came in after me was seen! Almost 2 years later after eventually finding out I have a hiatus hernia AND gall stones which will need two operations (in 2 different
      hospitals!) I am still waiting to know when I will be treated. And still get the pains, too! OK, I’m a foreigner but have residencia and am registered on the Health Service but that doesn’t seem to count here.

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