There is still no consensus on whose healthcare system is the best in Europe. In various rankings, which are compiled by professionals working in the field of medicine, France, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain and Spain most often appear. The latter faced perhaps the most serious trials in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, but in the end it was able to withstand this blow. And although medicine in Spain, like in any other country in the world, is not without its shortcomings, in terms of the number of obvious advantages it is definitely in the leading positions in the whole world.
Suffice it to say that the average life expectancy in Spain as of 2019 was 83.3 years, which is the highest among all European countries and the second on a planetary scale after Japan. In terms of healthcare costs (9-10% of GDP), availability of basic services and the cost of medical care in relation to the average income of the population, it is also among the undisputed leaders. It is no coincidence that the so-called “medical tourism” has become one of the most popular destinations, which is largely influenced by the high qualifications of local doctors, the use of new treatment methods, medications and modern technologies.
A few disadvantages include the impossibility of direct access to specialized specialists (the therapist must refer them to them), the waiting time for appointments and especially for planned operations, the high cost of private insurance (only for a minimum set of services you will have to pay 45-50 euros every month), as well as quite a noticeable difference between paid and state medicine, despite the professionalism of doctors and almost identical quality of service. At the same time, the share of documented complaints does not exceed 1%, which is comparable only to Austria, Holland and Luxembourg. Moreover, before the coronavirus pandemic and the introduction of quarantine, over 75% of Spanish residents rated their health as “good” or “very good.”
In recent years, the incidence of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction, has decreased significantly in Spain. The proportion of Spaniards suffering from alcohol or drug addiction has also decreased, although smoking marijuana and possessing the corresponding “product” without the purpose of sale is not subject to criminal liability, and the cultivation of cannabis in Spain “for personal use” is almost completely legalized.
In some areas of medicine – such as transplantology, oncology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, assisted reproductive technologies and stem cell treatment, Spanish doctors have no equal in the world. This is evidenced by at least the following facts and achievements:
- in terms of the number of organ transplant operations and their success, Spain has been ranked first in the world for 28 years in a row (according to the National Transplant Organization – ONT, by the beginning of 2020, 5,449 operations had been performed here – most often kidney or liver transplants);
- at the European level, Spain ranks first in the use of assisted reproductive technologies (according to the latest data from the European Society of Embryology and Human Reproduction, almost 110 thousand courses of treatment were carried out here, and a third of them immediately brought the desired result);
- childbirth in Spain is no less prestigious than in the USA, Canada, Switzerland or Germany (the point is not only in the level of service, but also in the attitude towards future parents, who feel surrounded by the care of medical staff);
- According to the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), about 53% of local residents who were diagnosed with cancer eventually managed to finally cope with this terrible disease.
To all this should be added the almost universal use of advanced technologies (Da Vinci robotic systems, 3D printing, virtual reality, exoskeletons, laser surgery). At the same time, the cost of services in private clinics in Spain, many of which have extensive experience working with patients from Russia and Ukraine, is more than acceptable compared to countries such as Germany, France or Switzerland.