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15 Sep

Tranquila in Tenerife, Elaine tells us how registering for healthcare made all the difference.

September 15, 2015 |

We moved to Tenerife four years ago and one of the first things we did was transfer our healthcare cover from the UK to Spain. It was an easy process, but  there are a few steps. First, as state pensioners, we needed to obtain our S1 forms. So I got on the phone to the International Pension Centre in Newcastle. That was easy. The real process came into play when we found out that we needed to register as residents with the national police, then with the local town hall, with Spanish Social Security, and then with the local healthcare centre. (Phew!) We decided to use an interpreter to liaise with the Spanish who was worth her weight in gold.

Getting our healthcare sorted first was one of the smartest moves we made. You never expect to become ill until it happens. I was admitted two years ago to ER with terrible stomach pains and ended up in hospital for a month with pancreatitis. I have nothing but praise for the medical attention I have received in Spain. It was excellent.  I cannot imagine however going through that plus sorting out paperwork and/ or facing an astronomical bill at the end.

So if you are considering to “live the dream” remember to think about healthcare too. Just because you are moving to another European country, it doesn’t mean it will be the same as at home. Don’t be frightened to take the step to change from UK to Spanish healthcare. You’ll be so happy you did it in time.

If you would like to share your story about accessing healthcare in Spain. Get in touch with us via our “Contact Us” page.


  1. We stumbled over here from a different web address and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking over your web page again.

  2. Sylvia Jean Rush

    My husband and I both changed over to this system when we first came to Spain 15 years ago. What a brilliant move it was. My husband had a hernia operation and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. They were so fantastic and within a little while I had my operation and since then I have been getting physiotherapy for the radio therapy 3 times a week. The doctors and nurses and our local doctor are lovely. We are fortunate that he also speaks English.
    Can not fault the system at all. Thank you Spain

  3. L. Rushton

    My husband received excellent care in Valencia when being treated for Prostate cancer,he is now fit and well and I’m certain that their prompt treatment saved his life.We have only praise for the Spanish healthcare system.

  4. Great article! Always very interesing to read a testimony!

  5. Hi Anne Minter…I have just read your informative comments about switching from uk to Spanish healthcare. I take it that you are meaning uk nhs to the Spanish equivalent and not uk provate to the spanish equivalent.

  6. It is in point of fact a nice and helpful piece of info. I’m happy that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Anne Minter

    I thoroughly recommend the above action. I moved to Fuerteventura five years ago, acquired an S1 and am now registered with my local Centre de Salud. I too have needed to use emergency services both at the local Centre and at the island’s hospital, including an operation and was so impressed with the system and the service provided. Between my elementary Spanish and the doctors and nurses grasp of English we managed to communicate and everything worked well
    A further point is that if you are registered as a Pensioner in the Spanish system and have on- going medicines you can purchase them with a prescription at a state negotiated discount. I pay 10% for my blood pressure tablets, which amounts to 34 Cents a month for two sets of tablets.