The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) campaign is a pilot project that was conducted in the Valencia Autonomous Community in Spain from September 2012 to May 2014. The aim of it was twofold: to raise awareness of EHIC rights and entitlements and to inform British Nationals resident in the region about the correct way of accessing the public healthcare system in Spain by reducing the number of those registered incorrectly with an EHIC.
The main objectives of the campaign were:
The Valencia Autonomous Community is home to a large number of long-term visitors and residents from the United Kingdom. Official statistics show there are approximately 75,000 UK holders of residency certificates and 145,000 registered with their local town hall, although actual figures of people living here some or part of the year are estimated to be significantly higher.
A large number of individuals access healthcare using their UK European Health Insurance Card so there was a clear need for accurate, up-to-date information from official sources, that is easily accesible by customers. This was even more pertinent coupled with recent healthcare legislation in Spain and the initiative by the Valencia Health Authority to regularise use of the European Health Insurance Card in the region. As well as targeting UK EHIC holders, the campaign also included personnel of the Valencia Health Authority, including those who manage access to the health system.
The key activities of the campaign were public talks (20) and meetings with health centre staff in the towns where high numbers of British citizens were registered, a radio and newspaper advertising campaign, production of an informative leaflet that was distributed through the English-language press and the launch of an interactive, informative website explaining rights of EHIC holders and how to access healthcare in Spain.
A very close, constructive working relationship has been developed between both partners, although there were cultural problems in overcoming different methods of working and opinions on the tone of outreach messages.
The information on accessing healthcare in Spain is comprehensive, widereaching and easily accessible. It is distributed via health centres and is also available on the internet. Anyone wishing to find information on accessing healthcare in Spain, from official sources, should be able to do so quickly and easily. Those who do not consider registering with a doctor before trying to access medical services are also provided for.
There has been considerable outside interest in the campaign, especially from within Spain and the potential for further comms work/partnerships are currently being explored with a view to further work being undertaken.
The partnership has set a precedent for foreign authorities to work together to provide information to customers. The model is successful enough for the Spanish Ministry of Health to be keen to roll the campaign out across Spain.
The UK Department of Health is also keen to undertake more communications work and this year they commissioned two informative videos on accessing healthcare in Spain. They are also looking at how this work can be rolled out across the rest of Europe.
The European Health Insurance Card leaflet is distributed across Spain and other EEA countries including Switzerland. It provides you with information on what the card is, who it is for and what rights British Nationals can enjoy abroad. You can download the electronic versions below.
These videos have been produced by the Department of Health in partnership with the British Embassy in Madrid to explain how British Nationals can access the Spanish healthcare system, whether they are living in Spain or just visiting.
This video explains how to use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Spain. The EHIC can only be used in public hospitals and it entitles the card holder to any medically-necessary treatment that cannot wait until they return home.
This video gives official advice to British Nationals thinking of moving to Spain on how to register for healthcare as residents. Follow our top tips for a healthy and happy life in Spain!
Two different adverts were published during the EHIC campaign distributed in the Valencia region in in the following local newspapers:
Costa Blanca News, Round Town News and Euro Weekly News.
Radio ads were aired during the EHIC campaign on Talk Radio Europe (88.2 FM/88.9 FM/104.6 FM/105.1 FM). You can listen to them here: