Healthcare in Spain and Catalunya


  • Spain’s National Healthcare is regarded as one of the better services in Europe.  In Barcelona you can have access to some of the top clinics and health professionals in the world.  The Catalan Health Service, CatSalut, offers free and subsidised treatments to those with a health card. Dental care in Spain is private although some preventative treatments for children are free in Catalunya.
  • It is quite usual for family members to be present at a patient's bedside whether it be in the maternity ward or elsewhere.  Hospitalised children must have a parent or designated adult with them at all times.  Family members are expected to support loved-ones during their hosptital stay and even carry out basic tasks to assist with the patient's care.
  • EU visitors should carry their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for entitlement to free, reduced cost  or reimbursable medical treatment and prescriptions.  The EHIC also covers routine maternity care when in Spain. Holidaymakers are advised to take out additional travel insurance for extra cover.

Vaccinations and Check-ups


  • Children are entitled to several check-ups through-out their early development. Your Health authority will give you a schedule of vaccinations. 
  •  A paediatrician is assigned to your child at your local surgery or CAP when you first register with a doctor. Your child will be seen by a paediatrician until the age of 14.
  • When you first visit with your baby, you will be supplied with a booklet to track your child's progress You should take this information with you to every appointment.
  • For information and a calender of vaccinations in Spain see:http://www.gencat.cat/salut/depsalut/html/es/dir91/csvacun.htm
    For a better understanding of the immunisation programme in English,  visit the NHS site in the UK for detailed information on each of the vaccines at  http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publichealth or the US department of Health at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/child-schedule.htm
  • A Vaccination card will be sent to your home address. The paediatrician will note on each visit which vaccination your child has received. Once the card is full you should send it by mail (your doctor can explain when). All recommended vaccinations are free.
  • At present, the the Pneumococcal Vaccination which is now standard in some countries (UK and US) is an option which you will need to pay for in Spain. Depending on when you begin the first vaccination (possibly at 2 months) your baby will need up to 4 doses.  The cost of the vaccine is approx. €80.
    See The Pneumococal Vaccination What You Need To Know http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-pcv.pdf
    For non-scheduled vaccinations that you would like your child to have, ask at your CAP if it is available and for a written prescription to obtain the vaccine from the pharmacist to bring with you to the appointment.
    The MMR vaccine is usually administered around 14 months.
    You may have to prove certain vaccinations have been given to your child before they  will be admitted to nursery.
  • A useful site that provides quick information on children's everday illnesses and injuries is http://www.kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/

Registering with a Doctor


  • As a resident in Barcelona you should apply for your Health Card or TSI (Tarjeta Sanitaria Individual). This is the card you will take to your local doctor's surgery or CAP (Centro Ambulatorio Publico). Call the Sanitat health line on  Tel. 902 111 444 with your postcode and they will give you details of the CAP at which you are allowed to register. Here you will be assigned a primary care doctor and your child a paediatrician.
  • Any follow-up treatment specified by your doctor is dealt with at the CAC (Centro de Atencio Continuada). The CAP has a home-visiting service and emergency service from Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours check with your local CAP where your emergency CAC is located as these are the centres that you can visit at weekends and public holidays.
  • If you qualify for public healthcare , then so do your  dependents.  If you have a contract you can obtain a Social Security number from the Tresosria General de La Seguridad Social (Tel. 93 496 2288 for the closest to you). 
  •  Bring your Empadronamiento (proof of fixed address) from you local town hall. To obtain your Empadronamiento you will need to show a rental agreement or property deeds and a utility bill proving your name and address .  Remember that for the purposes of  registering with a doctor your Empadronamiento needs to be no older than  1 month from issue date.
  • Once armed with your paperwork, you will immediately be given a temporary healthcard from your CAP and are then sent your permanent Tarjeta Sanitaria Individual at a later date by mail. You may be allowed healthcare if you have residency in Spain, even if you are not working. so find out from the CAP what you require to show as information.  It can sometimes depend on the day and who you see as to what documentation is needed so make sure you always take along everything you have!
  • By rights, If you are pregnant and are in Spain you will automatically be given free treatment on the public health system irrespective of your nationality or legal situation. See http://www.barcelonabirth.net for exellent advice and information regarding childbirth in Barcelona. If your children are under the age of 18, they also have the right to free healthcare whatever the circumstances.

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Kids in Barcelona is a family-friendly guide to the city of Barcelona for visitors with children and English-speaking residents with kids.  Our aim is to promote Barcelona as a child-friendly destination.  If you would like to feature your family-related business, children's shop, family restaurant, children's course, school or playgroup please Contact Us.