THE Balearic Health Service clarified this week that pregnant women, anyone under 18, and anyone needing emergency care is entitled to it under current law.
This came after Miguel Reyero, the Vice-President of ‘Metges del Mon’ (Doctors of the World) attempted to shine some light on the rights that immigrants with no income have to health care, something which was not clear, even amongst health care professionals.
On January 1 this year, a letter was sent by the Director General of the Balearic Health Service, Juan Jose Bestard, to all Heads of Admission of the health sectors.
It explained that everyone is entitled to emergency health care to treat a serious disease or injuries resulting from an accident, as well as minors and pregnant women.
During a conference organized by the Official Nursing School, Joana Fornes, a member of the deontological committee for the Medical Association, said that emergency care must be available to everyone, independently of their age, colour, creed, culture, disability, illness, gender, sexual tendency, nationality, political views, race or social status.
Although some confusion still exists, there is no need for patients to be paying into the social security system to receive emergency care.
However, health care professionals say that this is not always the case, and they see situations in which people get turned away. Immigrants without any income can request a health card from their social workers, but this can sometimes be delayed up to two months.
The Head of Son Espases Hospital, Juan Sanz, also said it was important for people to get their health card to prevent some, who live here but pay their taxes in their countries of origin, from getting free health care which they are not entitled to.
He also said it was important to inform immigrants that even if they are given a bill, if they prove they have no income, they will not have to pay it.
By Jennifer Leighfield