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GP services in Spain

The Spanish National Health System has an extensive network of health centres and hospitals throughout the country which offer primary health care services such as family and GP services, paediatrics and nursing, with midwives, physiotherapists and social workers.  The Spanish health system combines both public and private healthcare and within each separate state free or low cost health care is given to those who contribute to the Spanish Seguridad Social (social security). 
 
Health centres in Spain are located within 15 minutes of any place of residence.  In small villages and in rural areas there are local surgeries open on certain days with visits from regional healthcare staff.  Hospitals offer specialised attention, with access via referral from primary healthcare services.  Accident and Emergency services are available at hospitals and some health centres.  More information can be found at the Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo website (the Ministry of Health).
Many tourist offices keep a list of English speaking doctors and health professionals and in Spain you can locate private GPs in the local Yellow Pages (Páginas Amarillas) or via a personal recommendation.  You could also find a list of English speaking doctors in Spain on this site.  In Spain you you can choose to join any practice, and change if you are unhappy with it. 
 
Legally speaking, anyone residing in Spain should be registered in the community where they live and the "Empadronmiento" validates your residency in the community - and in Spain.  With the Empadronmiento you can apply for a local health card (el carnét para la asistencia sanitaria).  To see a doctor in the public health services take your Empadronmiento to your local clinic to receive a card entitling you to free public health care at your local doctor’s office. 

Your entitlement to state healthcare services

In 1998 the Sistema Sanitario Público (public health service) brought in an official mandate for both doctors and patients outlining the service to which they are entitled.  This is listed in all doctor’s offices in a leaflet entitled Carta de Derechos y Deberes (Charter of Rights and Obligations). If necessary, and if you are too poorly to get to a doctor's surgery, the doctor will visit you at home at any time of day or night. 
 
Doctors in Spain are as highly qualified as in any other EU country - see the section on doctor accreditation in Spain.

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