|Orange tree lined front entrance to Villa Joyosa hospital|
The Marina Baixa Hospital in Villa Joyosa, on the outskirts of Benidorm, has just won the "Health 2000 award" recognizing it as the best "public hospital" in the Valencian community. There are a total of six in the Province of Alicante - Denia, Villa Joyosa, San Juan, Alicante, Elche and Orihuela.
A public or Social Security hospital here is the Spanish equivalent of an "NHS" hospital in the UK.
Whilst on holiday here in Benidorm, if you fall ill or are involved in an accident you will automatically be taken there - unless you have private travel / medical insurance. If this is the case you will either go to the Hospital Clinica Benidorm (HCB) or the IMED Levante - it depends which provider you are with.
The IMED Levante also won an award for the best "private sector" hospital in the Valencian region - so you know which to choose IF you have the choice! Top tip: It may be useful to check with the insurance company which hospital you would be covered to use in an emergency before leaving - so in the unfortunate event of needing treatment you will not have the panic of trying to call the UK from your mobile and being charged an astronomical roaming charge to find out.
At the Villa Joyosa hospital any emergency treatment you require will be FREE provided that you have your European Health Insurance Card, otherwise known as the "EHIC" - a blue card which replaced the old E111 form. The EHIC is free to obtain and every member of the family should have their own card, including children. The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance - it will cover you for any emergency treatment required but does not cover the cost of repatriation ie. being flown back home. The cards are valid for 5 years if issued from the UK and 2 years from Spain ... not too sure why the anomaly, probably to create more paperwork - and how they love their paperwork here in Spain!
Jose Antonio Viudas, Health Department manager at the Marina Baixa hospital thanked all the staff for their hard work,effort and professionalism which enabled the hospital to receive the award. The busy hospital saw a total of 12,454 admissions last year and of those 8600 underwent surgery - 400 more than the previous year. There were also 1191 births registered, keeping the Obstetrics department very busy. In addition, a staggering 65,040 patients were seen in the accident & emergency department - were you one of those statistics?
Remember, to carry your EHIC card with you at all times - in the event of an accident its not much good laying in the drawer or safe of your hotel room! If you cannot present your EHIC at the hospital you WILL be charged for any treatment - it will then be for you to go through the long arduous process of reclaiming the money on your return back, so far easier to keep it on you. Another piece of advice, take a photocopy in case you loose it or have it stolen....