The NOTEBOOK Madrid.comExpert facts from local expats since 2001
Health & Wellness


Following a law reform in 1986 the Spanish national health service came into being, giving rise to a network of public health clinics, state-run hospitals and certain privately run hospitals.  The system is contibution based ie.yours and your dependents entitlement to health care depends on making social security contributions.  Each autonomous region of Spain is responsible for the provision of health services.  For Madrid, the service provider is Insalud.  The Spanish government Social Security department website has comprehensive information in English.

Tel.: 901 502 050
This telephone service is for afiliation and registration.


A foreigner coming to work in Spain legally will automatically be given a social security number.Your employee will arrange this or you can do it yourself. For the rest of the family, assuming the spouse is not working, social security cover is obtained in two stages.

1- Obtaining a social security card 

You need to go to the social security offices with the social security card (tarjeta de la tesorería general de la seguridad social) of the person working in Spain, plus the passports (including photocopies) of each person economically dependent on him/her.  You will then be given a social security card. Go to the Seguridad Social website to find out where the social security offices are located.
You can download the form to be filled directly from the Insalud website

2- Requesting a tarjeta sanitaria 

This Health Card is essential if you need to see a doctor. To obtain it you go to your designated Health Centre “centro de salud” (depending on where you live) and show your social security card and your spouse’s social security number. A card is required for each member of the family. To find out which centre you should go to in Madrid, consult the weblink.


The card (called Tarjeta Sanitaria Europeagives you access to free medical care when travelling within Europe, regardless of the reason for your visit (holiday, studies, work placement, business trip etc.) and is valid for 1 year.  In Madrid (and Spain) it gives you access to medical treatment provided by the public health service.



The Spanish Private Health Insurance (MUTUA) replaces your social security medical cover (although you are obviously free to continue using it).  Medical costs are covered 100% provided you consult medical professionals “accredited” by the insurance company. Some companies provide a “free choice” option, which means you can consult non-”accredited” health professionals and recoup 80% of the medical expenses within certain conditions. Be aware that medicines, dental prostheses and glasses are rarely reimbursed by private health insurance.
Have a look at those Spanish Private Health Insurance companies :

Tel.: 902 102 400

Tel.: 902 200 200

Tel.: 902 110 120

Mapfre Caja Salud 
Tel.: 902 030 203


The ideal solution is to have insurance valid both in Spain and in your home country.  This type of policy guarantees 100% coverage of medical costs, including hospital charges,paramedical costs, medicines, dental treatment and prostheses, optician’s costs etc. are also usually covered.  You can also choose which doctor and clinic to go to.

Giving Birth in Madrid

Giving birth in Spain is quite expensive and will cost you around € 6.000 for just 2 days in hospital. This includes all the check-ups during your pregnancy plus the cost of giving birth. Make sure your private health scheme or company will cover those costs. If you are pregnant and do not wish to know the sex of your baby in advance, you’d better remind your doctor of this before each ultrasound: Spanish people are very curious and are always in a hurry to find out whether it is a boy or a girl.


Registro Civil Central
Calle Pradillo 66

The hospital will tell you where to go and give you the necessary birth documents. Watch out! In Spain, children are given two surnames: the father’s and the mother’s. Do not forget to tell the local authorities that this doesn’t happen in your country and that your baby will only have one surname: the father’s. You will also have to call your Consulate to find out how to register your baby in your country of origin.

Salus Service - Sara 
Tel.: 653 949 145
The Salus Service is an established maternity nurse service that specialises in staying overnight at your house and helping with feeding and changing the baby to help mom get as much sleep as possible. 

Centro de Atención a la Familia Raices
Carmela Baeza
Tel.: 91 571 12 82
Speaks English 
Carmela Baeza is a full-time, professionally qualified breastfeeding consultant in Madrid, recommended by the Leche League. She speaks both English and Spanish.


How to choose your doctor ?


Whether you’ve been here for a while or just arrived, the choice of a doctor is a very personal matter.
In the following section, you will find all addresses sorted by specialty and recommended by English-speaking people for the last 13 years.
Most speak foreign languages and all are used to receiving foreign patients. Do not hesitate to contact them !