Children’s healthcare in Spain

Family life in Spain

The provision of children’s healthcare in Spain is carried out through a comprehensive system of healthcare providers, which comprises both public and private institutions. These healthcare providers are widely referred to as “Centros de Salud” and are dedicated to promoting the well-being of children.

Spain ensures that children have access to quality healthcare services, irrespective of their economic status or social background. These facilities are staffed by highly trained medical professionals who specialize in pediatric care and are equipped with the latest medical technologies to provide the best possible care for children.

In this article, we will share useful information about children’s healthcare in Spain and we will list the 10 best pediatric hospitals in that country. Read on!

Spain is committed to children’s health

Children’s healthcare in Spain is a fundamental right that is protected by law. This means that children in Spain have access to a wide range of medical services, including preventive care, vaccinations, routine check-ups, and treatment for acute and chronic illnesses. Pediatricians and family doctors play a critical role in providing primary care to children, and they are supported by a team of nurses, social workers, and other healthcare professionals.

In addition to the public healthcare system, there are also private health insurance providers that offer services to children and families. Private insurance is typically more expensive than public healthcare, but it may offer faster access to specialists and more personalized care.

children's healthcare in Spain

Does Spain have free healthcare?

Yes. All residents in Spain are required to register for healthcare. This means that if you are living in Spain, you need to obtain a health card or “tarjeta sanitaria” to access medical services.

The process of obtaining a health card varies depending on whether you are an EU citizen or not. EU citizens can obtain a health card by presenting their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or by registering for healthcare in Spain. Non-EU citizens need to provide proof of residency and employment to register for healthcare.

Cost of Healthcare in Spain

Once registered for healthcare, basic state services are free, but there are some services that require a co-payment, such as prescriptions. The co-payment for prescriptions varies depending on the medication and the patient’s income. Pensioners, children, and individuals with chronic conditions are exempt from paying co-payments. However, non-residents or tourists are required to pay the full price for medical services, including emergency care in health centers.

Public vs. private children’s Healthcare in Spain

As said before, children’s healthcare in Spain is delivered through a network of public and private healthcare providers. The primary point of contact for children’s healthcare is usually the primary care pediatrician, who is responsible for providing routine check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive care services.

The public healthcare system in Spain provides free healthcare services to children under the age of 18, including specialist consultations, diagnostic tests, and hospitalization. However, if a child needs more specialized medical care, they may be referred to a pediatric specialist or hospital.

In addition to the public healthcare system, there are also private health insurance providers that offer healthcare services to children. Private healthcare providers usually charge fees for their services, and many families choose to purchase private health insurance to cover the costs of private healthcare.

Choosing the Right Healthcare Option for Your Child

When it comes to your child’s health, choosing the right healthcare option can be challenging. While Spain’s public healthcare system provides universal coverage, it can come with long wait times for specialist care. Private health insurance, on the other hand, offers faster access to specialist care, but it comes at a cost.

Ultimately, the decision of which healthcare option to choose for your child depends on your specific needs and preferences. It’s important to consider factors such as wait times, cost, and language accessibility when making this decision.

Top 10 best pediatric hospitals in Spain

Parents always want to ensure the best possible medical care for their children. The availability of top-notch pediatric hospitals is crucial in ensuring the best possible care for children. In this sense, Spain is home to some of the best pediatric hospitals in Europe.

We have compiled a top 10 ranking of the best children’s hospitals in Spain based on two independent surveys. This ranking was prepared by the Monitor de Reputación Sanitaria through a survey conducted by the independent firm KPMG. It involved 2,700 doctors, nurses, patients, journalists and healthcare professionals, and also evaluated up to 900 objective quality indicators.

It should be borne in mind that there are some 300 hospitals in Spain, but only those with more than 3 specialties are included and the ranking is made up of the 70 best. If you’re a parent residing in Spain, you might find the following list very useful.

  1. Hospital Universitario La Paz (Madrid)
  2. Hospital Infantil Universitario Niño Jesús (Madrid)
  3. Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre (Madrid)
  4. Hospital Sant Joan de Déu (Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona)
  5. Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe (Valencia)
  6. Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron (Barcelona)
  7. Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón (Madrid)
  8. Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío (Sevilla)
  9. Clínica Universitari de Navarra (Navarra)
  10. Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal (Madrid)

In addition, the Coordenadas Institute presented in January 2015 the first edition of the Hospital Excellence Index (IEH 2015) of the best hospitals in Spain by specialties and in the area of Pediatrics the results are very similar:

1- Hospital Universitario La Paz (Madrid)

2-Hospital Infantil Universitario Niño Jesús (Madrid)

3-Hospital Sant Joan’de Déu (Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona)

Pediatric Specialties in Spain

Spain has 23 branches of pediatric specialties, including neonatology, endocrinology, cardiology, neurology, and hematology, among others. Each of these branches focuses on a specific area of pediatric medicine, allowing for a more comprehensive approach to care.

Private healthcare insurance often covers a wide range of health specialties, allowing you to access the care your child needs. Additionally, private clinics and hospitals often provide medical services in multiple languages, making it easier for non-Spanish speakers to communicate with doctors and specialists.

Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Pediatric Cardiology in Spain

Pediatric cardiac surgery is one of the most demanded specialties. There are many hospitals that are well-known for providing outstanding service in this area.

One example is the Pediatric Heart Surgery Department at the Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron (Barcelona). It is a pioneering and well-established unit in Spain. The team has over 40 years of experience in pediatric cardiology and has performed more than 5,000 surgeries involving extracorporeal circulation. The expert surgeons and medical professionals at the Vall d’Hebron Hospital are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to their patients.

It is a national reference center for the treatment of congenital heart disease. As such, it offers a wide range of surgical options for all kinds of diseases. The team of highly skilled surgeons and doctors is trained in the latest techniques and technologies and provides the most advanced and effective treatments for their patients.

children's healthcare in Spain

Why Routine Checkups for Children in Spain are Essential for their Health and Development?

As a parent, ensuring your child’s health and well-being is your top priority. In Spain, pediatricians are responsible for taking care of your child’s health and development until the age of 15.

Regular checkups, screenings, and vaccinations are some of the important measures that Spanish pediatricians take to ensure your child stays healthy and reaches their developmental milestones.

Post-birth exams and Preventative Screenings

Pediatricians in Spain carry out post-birth exams to assess your baby’s overall health and well-being. This includes checking for any birth injuries or health issues that may have developed within the first 24 hours of life.

Additionally, pediatricians perform preventative screenings to detect any potential health issues early on. These screenings include monitoring your child’s height and weight, hearing and vision, as well as cognitive, mental, and psychological development.


Vaccinations are an essential aspect of preventative healthcare for children. Spanish pediatricians ensure that your child receives all the necessary vaccines at the recommended times. This helps to protect your child from infectious diseases and serious health conditions.

Monitoring Development

Pediatricians monitor your child’s development to ensure they are reaching their developmental milestones. Regular checkups allow pediatricians to detect any potential issues early on and provide appropriate interventions if necessary.

Check up Schedule

Spanish pediatricians usually follow a checkup schedule that is tailored to your child’s age. The schedule ensures that your child receives the necessary checkups and screenings at the appropriate times throughout their development. It is as follows:

  • Once a month for the first six months
  • Every three months from the age of 6-12 months
  • Every four months from the age of 1-2 years
  • Twice a year from ages 2-6 years
  • At least once a year from the ages 6-15 years

¿What is Preventive Healthcare in the Spanish healthcare system?

Preventive healthcare is a crucial aspect of children’s healthcare in Spain. The government provides a comprehensive vaccination program that covers all children under the age of 18. This program includes vaccinations for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and polio, among others.

In addition to vaccinations, the public healthcare system in Spain provides regular check-ups for children to ensure that they are growing and developing normally. These check-ups also include screenings for vision and hearing problems, as well as dental care exams.

A word from SpainDesk

Overall, children’s healthcare in Spain is generally of high quality, and the country has a well-developed healthcare infrastructure. However, there are some regional variations in the quality of healthcare services, and some families may face long waiting times for non-emergency medical care and other treatments in the case of free healthcare assistance.

Choosing a hospital for your children in Spain is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. The decision should be based on factors such as the hospital’s reputation, the availability of specialized pediatric services, the quality of medical care, the hospital’s location, the accessibility of emergency care and the type of health insurance.

It is essential to do proper research, ask for recommendations, and visit the hospital before making a final decision. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your children receive the best possible medical care in a safe and comfortable environment. Remember, choosing the right hospital can make all the difference in your child’s health and well-being.

Disclaimer: Information on this page may be incomplete or outdated. Under no circumstances should the information listed be considered professional legal or medical advice. We highly recommended seeking guidance from a legal or medical expert if you lack extensive knowledge or experience dealing with any of the procedures outlined in these articles.