Health Care in Tenerife

I really can´t convey just how impressed I am with the health system in Tenerife. I don´t mean the kind you have to pay for each month with medical insurance, I mean the treatment we have by being registered on the Padron and having access to the public system.

Recently OH had a dizzy spell due to the medication he was taking and as he fell, split his head open on the corner of our glass dining table. There was copious amounts of blood, being a head wound, but it was also a deep cut and I felt it needed a stitch or two.

Although we live almost walking distance from the Hospital del Sur (Mojon) he decided because we didn´t have access to a translator that he would use the ‘Green’ (one of the two hospitals here in the South). In my view he didn´t need anyone to translate as it was obvious what had happened, but being a man!

Anyway on walking into Urgencies in the Green his medical card and NIE were handed over and he was told to wait. 6 hours, an injection, X-ray, and 5 stitches later he came home with a bundle of notes declaring he was fine and had to have the stitches removed after 7 days.


Jump to yesterday morning, we visit the nurse in the medical centre in Arona every 3 months for what she calls ‘control’. It is a way of checking we stay in good health and in the end save the health service money by being able to catch anything right at the beginning rather than waiting until it is too late.

1-Health Centre Arona

She was concerned when she saw Jim, but did her usual blood pressure, blood sugar, weight etc. tests gave us our flu jabs and booked our next appointments for February. She then re-read the notes from the hospital and double-checked with us that they had done everything they said.  She was surprised they hadn´t done an ECG due to the shock of the fall and so we moved to another room and she did one.

With only my experience of UK health to base it on, I asked would the result be available next week when the stitches come out. No! says she, go back to the waiting room and wait to be called…. 10 minutes later, we were sitting in front of the doctor who said the test was good. However, to be thorough when Jim goes back next week he will have another ECG to see that it is still stable.

And this is why I am so impressed, when you need help you get it at once and the backup is first class.

I feel so lucky to be here rather than in a place where you have to wait weeks for an appointment and months for tests.

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7 Responses to Health Care in Tenerife

  1. palmeyra says:

    I think the health service here is generally very good for urgent problems, and serious problems, like cancer, heart attack, accident etc. It is not so good if your problem is one which causes you quite bad pain and suffering, but does not actually threaten your life. Routine checks are also probably better than in the UK . . blood pressure checks, ECG’s etc. . . . but waiting lists to see for example a rheumatologist, or a dermatologist or orthopaedic surgeon
    have been more than a year in my case. Of course, I didn’t bother to wait . . .

  2. Maria says:

    There are many nice experiences I can talk about in Tenerife, but that would be speaking generally and the subject here it’s more specific. When it comes to healthcare in Tenerife, the people who live here knows it’s far from being the best thing this island have to offer.
    No, it’s not my personal experience, it’s every single local and national citizen’s experience every single day. Like I say, it’s no news, speacially if you read Spanish newspapers (in Spanish). Here I give you some statistics that most people in Tenerife know first hand: operation waiting lists. The least you have to wait is 6 months and now that has increased!

    •’s every single local and national citizen’s experience every single day ..

      I suspect Maria that that statement is also a generalisation because I also know people who have had good experiences. So in this instance I think we agree to disagree, however should me or my family need to see a specialist or have an operation, I will let you know if I have a change of mind.

      • Maria says:

        That is actually the government’s statistics and not my experience, neither me nor any member of my family has had the need of an operation whiel in Tenerife, Thanks God! I hope you do not have to make a comment about that exprience, ever!
        I do appreciate your nice blog and all the wonderful an certainly deserved compliments you have about this great island.

  3. Maria says:

    Are you sure you’re talking about Tenerife, the Canary island…in Spain???? If so, and I have no reason not to believe you, I’ll start to think foreigners get better health attention than locals, which it’s not fair. Saying Tenerife is a place where medical attention works like a clock and you do not have to wait, it’s like saying the moon is square and the sun is frozen. I live in Tenerife and I was born in mainland Spain, in Costa Blanca actually, and I have never seen a place in Spain where you have to wait so much for a specialist appointment like in here. My husband suffers from high cholesterol and needs a blood test every now and then, he almost fall to the floor a week ago when they told him the appointment was in a month!! A month for a blood test!!! What??
    We of course cancellled it and made a blood test in Quiron the following day, using our private insurance. Quiron was full of locals, not just foreigners and if you talk any of the locals waiting there they’ll tell you things like: “Everybody knows that in Tenerife you either use private insurance or die waiting for a specialist to see you”. And it’s true, ever since we came to live here we’ve heard the exact same complaints from the locals, it’s in the newspapers, it’s a subject in tenerife radio talks, it’s a common subject to discuss when any political responsable is interviewed on TV. I mean, it’s no news at all!
    So I wonder if you and I live in the same island.

    • I appreciate your comment Maria and that is obviously your experience. I can only say what I and my family have experienced personally and in the 11 years of living on the island, it has always been very good.

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