Navigation Links
Health Tourists Put Spanish Service Under Strain

Waves of tourists have been coming to Spain's sun-kissed eastern and southern coastline for decades and convalescents among them are connoisseurs of the climate's restorative properties.

But as European integration progresses, more and more health "tourists" and foreign residents buying into the idea of retirement by the sea have been making increasing use of Spain's health facilities -- to the extent that they are now causing a headache for service providers.

EU tourists here, comprising in their majority Britons, Germans and Belgians, are entitled to free healthcare in Spain, with the local authorities picking up the bill.

Popular procedures include hip replacements and coronary bypasses, according to the Confederation of Medical Unions (CESM) in the eastern coastal region of Valencia.

"Everything is easier here, healthcare is universal and free for all," says Manuel Cervera, deputy head of healthcare in the Valencian regional government.

"In some northern European countries patients sometimes have to wait for months on waiting lists for treatment. Here, the average wait is 45 days for a routine operation," Cervera told AFP.

Obtaining a prosthesis "sometimes costs money in other countries, whereas here they are free," he adds.

Under current EU legislation such treatment or surgery for a previously diagnosed ailment requires authorisation from health authorities in the patient's homeland.

To circumvent that rule patients will "often take advantage of a serious instance of a longstanding ailment in order to go to emergency services where they get seen and operated on if necessary," says doctor and CESM spokesman Ricardo Llevata.

"Health tourism is camouflaged behind normal tourism," Llevata charges.

"Many people say they are on holiday whereas in fact they are getting treatment."

A message in English on the walls of the F oyetes health centre at the tourist trap of Benidorm explains to would-be customers: "If you don't speak Spanish come with someone who does. You'll get better service."

At Benidorm-Villajoyosa hospital "health tourism" is a taboo subject.

At the entrance stands Beth Wilson, a 65-year-old English woman, who vouches for the service as being "the quickest in Spain."

Having come over for a varicose veins operation "she obtained an appointment within a few months whereas in England we'd have waited for years," says husband Keith.

But faced with increasing numbers of foreign patients in areas favoured by tourists such as Andalusia in the south and the Balearic Islands, regional authorities and doctors alike are speaking out over what they say are the lack of funds and human resources to treat so many within the national health scheme.

In 2006, "125,000 foreign tourists were treated by the Valencia regional health system," says Cervera, adding that their treatment cost the regional authority 88 million euros (110 million dollars).

He adds that EU cohesion funds destined to aid tourism in the region -- healthcare is administered on a regional basis in decentralised Spain -- "only came to four million euros."

Doctor Llevata noted that "we are desperately short of personnel and funds are insufficient" for what he says are "unforeseen" pressures on local healthcare.

Dorothy Ramirez de la Pecina -- a Finnish translator who speaks nine languages -- has been a key member of staff at the hospital in Benidorm for several years.

"Some old people arrive very ill from their own country," she said.

"They all thank me" for liaising with doctors and for helping to avoid "diagnosis errors."


'"/>




Related medicine news :

1. Startling Expose – Physicians Often Have No Regular Source Of Health Car
2. Want a Healthy brew? Have some Tea!
3. Healthcare sector is now a multi billion-dollar industry in India
4. Exclusive breast-feeding advised for six months in infants recommends World Health Organization
5. Health at heights
6. Health Officials Recommend Flu Vaccine
7. Slightly High BP Poses Health Risk
8. Unsatisfactory Grade On Womens Health Issues
9. Iodex goes to SmithKline Beecham consumer Healthcare
10. Healthy Medicine Or Harmful Intoxicant?
11. Healthy snacks improve nutrition of kids
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... ... they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need a treatment plan to ... a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of fertility and ultimately achieving ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... , ... First Choice Emergency Room , the largest network of independent ... Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm facility. , “We are pleased to announce ... Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical Director of First Choice Emergency Room. , ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June ... with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking ... common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced ... attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 ... received special honors as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... EB Medicine presented its first-ever “Issue of ... in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The awards honor the outstanding work of leading ... and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Practice. , “With this award, we recognize the efforts ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Research and ... "Structural Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" report ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health Monitoring, ... Structural electronics involves electronic and/or electrical components ... replacing dumb structures such as vehicle bodies or ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has announced ... Diagnostic Tests" report to their offering. ... The World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers ... Market analysis in the report includes the following: ... Diagnostic Kits) by Region (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016  Arkis BioSciences, a leading innovator in ... durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today announced it has ... is led by Innova Memphis, followed by Angel ... investors.  Arkis, new financing will accelerate the commercialization ... release of its in-licensed Endexo® technology. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: