Mathew Wintercross, 27, went to the emergency room without his NHS medical card and Reception asked him for €600 before they would attend to him.
He tried to get medical treatment after a cycling accident at both Hospital Sant Pau and CAP Sardenya before, finally being attended to in Valld’Hebron.
Hospital Sant Pau has attributed this matter to a ‘misunderstanding’ originating in Reception as emergency treatment should be free for everyone regardless of whether they have a card or not.
Mr Wintercross, a resident of Barcelona, left the first two hospitals without making a complaint as he was unaware of his rights.
The Sant Pau hospital attends to more than 34,700 medical incidents per year and 0.5% of these involve foreigners.
Most of these treatments are not paid for as the system does the billing after the fact, not before.
Joan Luis Pique, head of the Catalonian Health Service, has assured that all emergency medical attention is guaranteed and only billable in special circumstances.