Emergency Services and Healthcare

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When travelling, it’s always advisable to know where to turn to for medical or police assistance if the need arises. Read below to find practical information on what to do in an emergency.


The Spanish National Health System comprises a widespread network of hospitals and healthcare centres that spans across the country. Healthcare centres provide primary care, while specialist service is available in hospitals, to which patients must be referred by a doctor. In addition, hospitals and some healthcare centres have an emergency service.

The entire list of healthcare centres in the Region of Madrid can be found here.

If you’re an EU citizen, you and your family are eligible for medical care, so that you don’t have to return to your country of origin for treatment. However, you should get the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in your country, or any equivalent document proving that you have medical insurance in a member state, since this will entitle you to prompt medical care wherever you are.

If you don’t have this card (or an equivalent document), you’ll still get immediate medical assistance, though you may be fully charged for it. You may claim a refund from your health insurance company, according to the medical costs applicable in the country where you received treatment.


Medicines in Spain must be bought at pharmacies, which you’ll easily spot by their green cross. Regardless of the time and the area where you are, you’ll always find one on duty, open round the clock. Antibiotics are sold on prescription only.


In case of emergency (ambulance, fire and rescue, police), call 112, a toll-free number that works 24/7 across the EU, Spain included. The 112 call centre immediately identifies the caller’s location. It has interpreting services covering as many as 80 languages.

Foreign tourist assistance service

The Foreign Tourist Assistance Service (SATE) offers personal assistance to tourists who need to visit a police station for whatever reason.

Assistance is provided by a qualified team at the official tourism agency or by police officers. They help tourists lodge complaints or fill in forms.

Most countries have diplomatic representation in Madrid. Check out the list of embassies in the city.


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