The new law ordering massive savings in the national health service of Spain contemplates charging patients the cost of the ambulance callout in “non urgent” cases, such as transport home after a visit to the hospital, or callouts for trivial cases. Although the implementation of such charges is down to the federal regions of Spain, the new law is expected to be quickly taken up by the bankrupt regions and implemented quickly (if quietly!).
Other charges which are likely to be leveled under the new law:
- Mobility aids can now be “rented” out rather than loaned (wheelchairs, crutches, etc)
- Food and medicines aimed at changing a persons diet
- And generic non medical treatments that are to be studied on a case by case basis
The law goes by the rather dramtic sounding name of Real Decreto-Ley de medidas urgentes para garantizar la sostenibilidad del Sistema Nacional de Salud y mejorar la calidad y seguridad de sus prestaciones. Ahem: “Royal Decree of Law of Urgent Measures to guarantee the sustainability of the National Service of Health and improve the quality and safety of its services”. If that title doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.
All this, on top of people having to pay more for their medicines, and only being given the amount needed for their treatment. If you earn more than 18,000€ a year you are now expected to pay 50% of your prescription, over 100k€ 60% of your prescription.
I have no principled objection to introducing charges and, indeed, a consultation fee to see the doctor – the discouragement of unnecessary use!! Provided the poor, the chronically sick etc are exempted.
BUT – I see a bureaucratic nightmare … for instance when you go for a prescription how will the pharmacist know your income? Have you any information as to how resident foreigners will be impacted – apart from my wife the only people who know my income are in the Hacienda.
How does this work practically?
So far, in Andalucia, not at all as the Junta has refused to implement the changes, although other regions across Spain are.