nhs

Health Care

Accessing the NHS in the UK

If you are returning home to the UK for a holiday, hopefully you have thought about how you will be covered for healthcare while back in the UK. It’s not as straightforward as it may have been in the past and there are new procedures to follow. If you are confused and not exactly clear on how you would access the NHS, this is our advice to you! We have divided the information by social security status (e.g. state pensioner, worker etc) and how you are accessing public healthcare in Spain. So please scroll down and look for which numbered group fits your personal situation.

If you have any questions about the information below, please feel free to contact our team at healthcare.spain@fco.gov.uk

We wish you a safe trip without complications!

The Healthcare Team

State Pensioners with a UK issued S1 form OR Posted workers from UK to Spain (you may have an S1 form issued by HMRC or using a UK issued EHIC in Spain):

What kind of cover do you get?

Official line:

You have the right not to be charged for the secondary care and will need to access healthcare on the same basis as a UK resident. Primary care is free at the point of use. It’s up to GPs surgery whether they will accept patients from abroad.

What this means:

If the local surgery accepts, you can see a GP. If you do need to see a specialist you will need a referral from the GP. You will only be charged for treatment if UK residents would be charged for the same treatment.

You will also pay for prescriptions on the same basis as a UK resident. If exemptions apply to paying for residents, they will apply to you too. This means that state pensioners will not pay for prescriptions while in the UK.

Please note that Primary care is usually NHS GP offices and some Walk-in-Clinics (depending on the set up), as well as some dentist and ophthalmology services. Secondary care is everything else, including A&E and hospital treatments.

What you need to present at the GP surgery or hospital?

State Pensioners will need to:

ask reception or the billing department to call the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999 to verify that you do have a registered S1 in Spain. Please have your national insurance number at hand.
Posted workers will need to provide:

NHS number OR ask reception or the billing department to call the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999 to verify that you do have a registered S1 in Spain. Please have your national insurance number at hand.
Worker in Spain contributing to Spanish social security or in receipt of Spanish state pension or benefit:
What kind of cover do you get?

You are covered on a Spain issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or tarjeta sanitaria europea. This means you are covered for any state-provided medically necessary care that cannot wait until your planned date of return to Spain.

You will pay for prescriptions on the same basis as a UK resident. If exemptions apply to paying for residents, they will apply to you too.

What you need to present at the GP surgery or hospital?

Spain issued EHIC

Accessing healthcare in Spain as “limite de rentas”:
What kind of cover do you get?

You are covered on a Spain issued Certificado Provisional Sustitorio (CPS), which is like a temporary EHIC. This means you are covered for any state-provided medically necessary care that cannot wait until your planned date of return to Spain

You will pay for prescriptions on the same basis as a UK resident. If exemptions apply to paying for residents, they will apply to you too.

What you need to present at the GP surgery or hospital?

Spain issued CPS (you will need to apply for this every time you decide to travel within EEA countries)

Early Retiree (covered by private healthcare or convenio especial):
What kind of cover do you need?

Private travel insurance or you can choose to pay for any NHS services you use

You will pay 100% for prescriptions or whatever your insurance covers

What you need to present at the GP surgery or hospital?

You will need to show your insurance policy or pay upfront

Part of the This Is Spain Network. Operated by Costa Insider SL.