National Hospital and Health-System Pharmacy Week on October, 2024: System Pharmacy Week - What is the situation in Tenerife with prescriptions. I am over 60 and in the UK i get them free.?

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What is the situation in Tenerife with prescriptions. I am over 60 and in the U/K i get them free.?

Your health

Understanding the healthcare system: as an EU resident, you are entitled to benefit from Spain's public healthcare system. However, the rules are different for retired Brits who draw a UK pension. Follow our guide to Spain's public and private health provision.

Knowing that you are near to good-quality healthcare providers is one of the biggest considerations when retiring abroad. It is also important to know what you are entitled to. The Spanish public healthcare system is excellent.

Proximity to a hospital, doctor, pharmacy and other health services is something to bear in mind when you are looking at properties in buy.

Reciprocal healthcare

Spanish hospitals and doctors are of a very high standard and as an EU national you are covered for treatment with the Spanish public health care system. Make sure you have an E111 form (or E121 if you are going to live in Spain for more than three months), available from post offices in Britain or from your Social Security office. Make sure you apply at least three weeks before you come to Spain.

Your E111 form is valid as long as you continue to pay social security contributions in the UK and covers all emergency treatment but not X-rays, physiotherapy or dental treatment. Contact the Department of Social Security (, tel. 0191 218 7777) for further information.

Spanish residents

If you move to Spain permanently, you will need to apply for an official Medical Card at your local Social Security Office in Spain. Take your E111/E121 form, passport and proof of residence.

For details of your local social security office, contact the Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social,, tel. 900 616 200 (free information line).

Private health insurance

As in the UK, most Spaniards are covered for health treatment by the public health system, but about 6 million choose to take out a private health policy to avoid waiting lists and have access to more hospitals.

In general, British report that schemes back home offer better cover than Spanish policies. Always check whether your policy covers you for treatment - and what kind of treatment - abroad.

Seek the advice of an independent broker about which plan suits you and whether you require extra cover for your family, maternity care, dentistry etc.

Providers who specialise in expat private health insurance include William Russell Group, InterGlobal Insurance Services, Good Health, ALC (A La Carte healthcare) and ExpaCare. BUPA International (who own Spain's biggest private health insurer Sanitas) and PPP Healthcare have three plans, depending on how much cover you require.

Finding a doctor (for private insurance only)

You can choose to join any practice, not necessarily the one nearest your home, and if you are not satisfied with that doctor, you are entitled to change to another practice. You will find lists of practices in the local Yellow Pages (Páginas Amarillas), but it is always advisable to go with a friend's recommendation where possible. You do not usually need to make an appointment. Patients are seen on a first come, first served basis.

If you are too ill to get to your doctor's surgery, a doctor will visit you at home at any time of day or night.

Health centres

Local health centres (centros de salud) also have a number of doctors available, for whom you will need to make an appointment. See your local Yellow Pages for addresses. If you need to consult a doctor, take your E111 (and a photocopy) or your medical card if you have one. You do not need to pay for a consultation.

Your details will be entered into a computer and the receptionist will determine whether you need to pay for prescriptions or not. Pensioners do not need to.


You have to pay for dental treatment, unless you have private health insurance that covers dental work. You simply need to make an appointment and take a form of ID with you. Generally Dentist are 15 - 20 % cheaper than the UK.


Most medicines are far cheaper in Spain than in England and available over the counter. However, pensioners are entitled to free prescription medicine from pharmacies with a prescription from their doctor.

Pharmacies usually open from 9.30am-2pm and from 5-9.30pm Mondays to Fridays and from 9.30am-2pm on Saturdays. In every town and village there is a 24-hour pharmacy or contact number.

Social security

EU citizens retiring in Spain are also entitled to benefit from the Spanish social security system.

Make sure you get an E121 form from your local social security office in the UK before you leave and that it is stamped and signed.

Once in Tenerife, take this to your local social security office in, along with your passport and your application for residency, and photocopies of all forms.

Once the E121 has been accepted, you will receive your social security card within four weeks. Then you should visit your local hospital and register with a local

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