Spain has one of the best public health systems in the world. It provides an universal care to all of its citizens. As a matter of fact, the ambulatory, or, officially, the Centre d’Atenció Primària (CAP), is a public health center where medical care is provided for free. Actually, each district of Barcelona has its own CAP. The patients are determined by area of residence. Moreover, when you register, you will be assigned a general practitioner. Furthermore, if you have children, a pediatrician will be provided. To register and receive your health card from Catsalut, the Catalan Health Service, you need to go to your nearest CAP and present your City Council registration certificate (empadronament). You will also need some form of identification, and if you are employed, your employment contract and your Social Security registration. Those who are not registered in the Social Security system are also entitled to apply for a Catsalut health card. For more information on the Catalan healthcare system, visit the official website of Catsalut
Public hospitals in Barcelona provide an excellent emergency services. They also have elective and non-elective medical treatment. They are staffed by some of the best medical professionals in the country and are equipped with the latest medical technology.
For minor aches and pains you can go to a pharmacy and ask a pharmacist for advice. Spanish pharmacists are highly qualified and can give you advice on which over-the-counter drugs to take and how to take them. Late-night pharmacies, called farmàcies de guàrdia, are open during weekends and holidays. Some pharmacies are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Private health insurance
Another available option is the private healthcare sector. Private insurance providers (mútues) usually have their own network of hospitals, clinics and laboratories. Note that most companies only cover care provided by medical professionals on their list, called a quadre mèdic, although some refund a certain percentage of the fees charged by professionals not on the list.