Health, Accident and Emergency
Health care in Barcelona is excellent. The Spanish system as a whole is considered a model for other countries to follow. Many visitors and ex-patriots I know are full of praise for the thorough and excellent health services available in Catalonia.
If you have an accident or need to see a doctor urgently you can go to the Casualty Department (Urgències) of any of the Public Hospitals in Barcelona. All are open 24 hours. Here are the contact details:
Carrer Villarroel, 170. 08036, Barcelona. Tel. 932 275 400
Metro Hospital Clinic L5. This hospital is in the Eixample not very far from Passeig de Gràcia.
Hospital de Sant Pau
Carrer Antoni María Claret 167, 08025 Barcelona. Tel. 932 919 000
Metro Sant Pau L5, Guinardó L4. Sant Pau has recently opened new buildings accessed through Carrer Sant Quintí. It is very near the Sagrada Familia.
Hospital del Mar
Passeig Marítim 25-29, Barcelona 08003. Tel. 932 483 000
Metro. Ciutadella Vila Olímpica L4. Just behind the beach at Barceloneta.
Centre d’Urgències Perecamps
Avinguda Drassanes 13-15, 08001 Barcelona. Tel. 934 410 600
A 24 hour Health Centre near the bottom of the Ramblas.
If you cannot travel to the hospital you can call 061 and ask for a doctor to visit you at your hotel or apartment. Before coming he may phone to check the urgency and details of the matter.
When my elderly mother fell prey to violent intestinal upheavals a sympathetic and thorough doctor came to the house within half an hour and then came back twice to check up.
If your need is not so serious or urgent, you can visit your local Health Centre. There are very many of these and the best way to get the address and phone number is to ring 010, wait till the end of the recorded messages to speak to a human in English.
To be entitled to free health care in Barcelona, EEC members should have their European Emergency Health Card, also known as the Health Insurance Card. Your national health service can tell you how to get this. If you are a national of a Non-EEC country, you should check with your local Health Service what arrangements for reciprocal healthcare –if any– have been agreed, and what you need for coverage.
Chemist's shops are dotted around all over the city and there are several that open 24 hours a day in the centre of town. You will often see green and red fluorescent crosses on street corners indicating there’s a chemist's on the block.
Those that don’t open late regularly follow a rota system that ensures there’s always a late-night or all-night chemist reasonably close to where you are. This rota is displayed in a panel by the door. Some places keep their shutters down at night even if they are open. If the place looks closed, you may have to ring a bell or bang on the shutters and speak through a small window. A call to 010 will locate an open chemist's near you.
As in the rest of Spain, chemist's shops in Barcelona will sell many more drugs over the counter than is usual in other countries and will often advise you what to take even if you give them the most cursory description of your symptoms. However, because they will gleefully sell you a large box of industrial strength antibiotics for a simple sore throat, it is obviously wiser to get a doctor’s advice on exactly what you need to take and for how long.
Chemist's are a very powerful lobby and have a stranglehold on all kinds of manufacturers whose goods they retail. The tagline “only sold in Chemist's” casts a potent spell on consumers who tend to think that baby foods, cosmetics, suntan creams and shampoos have gained some magical power through their presence in the chain. Another upshot of this lobby is that it is impossible to buy an Aspirin anywhere else (other than a bar where a sympathetic barman may sell you one for your hangover). So anything you need in the line of antiseptics, insect bite creams, sticking plasters, aspirin, paracetamol, cough medicine and cold cures will force you into their eagerly welcoming hands.
Farmàcia Castro: Gran de Gràcia, 115 (by Rambla del Prat) 93 217 87 47
Farmacia Álvarez: Passeig de Gràcia, 26 (by Gran Via) 93 302 11 24
Farmàcia Dra. Castells Soler: Passeig de Gràcia, 90 (by Provença) 93 487 61 45
Farmacia Torres: Aribau, 62 (by Aragó) 93 453 92 20
Farmàcia Sunyer: Passeig Sant Joan, 111 (Provença) 93 457 53 72
Farmàcia Clapés: La Rambla, 98 (across the Ramblas from the Boqueria market) 93 301 28 43
Astound your friends with these useless facts…
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