Healthcare in Spain23rd March 2007
The Spanish public healthcare system is mainly financed through general taxation which has replaced the previously insurance dominated scheme. However, insurance is still a buzz word when it comes to financing a health service in Spain – compulsory insurance covers 99 per cent of the population and is collected through mandatory contributions and taxes. Those who are employed may also opt for private health insurance whereas the poor are insured through INSALUD which is means-tested and financed by taxes. As with the UK, funding is collected by central government and allocated to regions which then facilitate local healthcare services.
The entire population has access to free in-patient and ambulatory care. Those who are in work pay 40 per cent of their prescription charges whereas pensioners and in-patients receive free medicines. Social and community care are deemed to be lacking in Spain and there is a severe shortage of care available to the elderly and disabled although mental health is provided for within the public system. Spanish dental care is entirely private.
Most Spanish hospitals are modern and well-equipped with well trained staff. The biggest difference in UK and Spanish healthcare systems is the level of nursing care available in Spain. While Spanish nurses are well-trained and efficient, they simply do not perform many of the duties carried out by British nurses. Many personal care and feeding tasks fall to family members and all hospitals allow one companion to be with the patient 24 hours a day to fulfil these needs.
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