Spain has an extensive public health service. There are healthcare centres even at the smallest villages in the country. All Spaniards get healthcare services for free. Tourists who are citizens of EU countries can also benefit from free health care if they hold the new EHIC, the card that is the replacement for the old E111 form. However, all emergency services are provided to everyone, whatever their country of origin or the reasons they have come to Spain.
The province of Málaga comprises six health districts. There is at least a large hospital in every disttrict on which smaller healthcare units near by depend.
The six health districts are La Vega, based in Antequera; Serranía, based in Ronda; Valle del Guadalhorce, centred on Cártama; Málaga, in Málaga City; Costa del Sol, in Mijas, and finally, Axarquía, based in Vélez-Málaga.
What patients need to know is where the hospitals in those districts are. The northern part of the province is served by the Hospital de Antequera; the northwestern tip of Málaga Province has the Hospital Básico de la Serranía de Ronda; in Costa del Sol Occidental, the main hospital is the Hospital de la Costa del Sol, located in Marbella; Costa del Sol Oriental, is covered by the Hospital de la Axarquía, in Vélez-Málaga, and, the central area of the province has hospitals in Málaga City, namely the Hospital Materno Infantil, Hospital Civil, Hospital Virgen de la Victoria (a.k.a. Hospital Clínico Universitario) and Hospital Regional Carlos Haya, to which the Hospital Marítimo de Torremolinos should be added..
For routine medical consultation patients should go to an outpatients' department nearby or a healthcare centre (both offer virtually the same medical services, although the former only has general practitioners, not specialists, and provides first-aid treatments). Specialists are available at the healthcare centres. Whenever a patient needs specialist treatment, the doctor will have he or she referred to the nearest hospital or the specialist hospital.
There are a great number of public and private hospitals, chemists' and ambulance services across the province. This means that Spaniards and visitors have access to qualified medical staff wherever they are, on coastal areas or at inland locations. Moreover, public hospitals are easily accessible..
Emergency phones are 061 or 112, the European emergency phone number that allows a callers to contact local emergency service for assistance. Languages spoken: Spanish, English, French and German. Visitors, thus, can use the full and efficient health service network at any location.
As in the rest of Spain, on Costa del Sol there are state, regional and local security forces. In the province of Málaga there are 41 police stations and 66 units of the Civil Guard. Also, there are 13 firemen stations and 36 Red Cross stations. However, should any problem arise, you should call 091, the national police phone number.
The National Police members report to the Ministry of Home Affairs; they are empowered to enforce the law and their powers include the preservation of order. Policemen wear blue uniforms and badges with the same colours as those in the Spanish flaga: red and yellow.
The Civil Guard reports to the Ministry of Defence. Its guards control highways and are charged with many other tasks that citizens or visitors hardly notice. Their wear green uniforms.
The regional police force, called Policía Autonómica, is a recently created corps that reports to the regional government and cooperates effectively with state security forces. The regional policemen wear badges with the same colours as the Andalusian flag: white and green.
Regional police officers help maintain law and order and enforce traffic rules at the municipal level (all municipalities have their own local police unit). They wear blue uniforms and the name of the corps on it.
In practice, all these forces work together to look after citizens' safety and public security. In the summer months, with so many tourists coming to the province, there are many more officers in the street, and the beach police work in coastal municipalities. They perform tasks to meet the needs of the special environment they work at.
All the policing forces are continuously recruiting translators and interpreters who help assisting foreign travellers, especially on coastal areas and in the summer months. All the members of the forces mentioned above will help citizens and visitors alike. In case they cannot help people with a specific problem, they will bring them all the information they might need or submit their case to the relevant department.
Costa del Sol Tourist Board - Plaza de la Marina, nº4 - 29015 Málaga - Tel: +34952126272 - Fax: +34952225207 - firstname.lastname@example.org