Health tourism in Spain: myths and realities

Health tourism in Spain: myths and realities

Giraldo Chapaprieta, Alejandra y Méndez Pérez, Ester

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Abstract:

The aim of this study was to determine and quantify an aspect of our public health system that in recent years has received great interest from the government and institutions – health tourism. Importantly, this concept encompasses two distinct realities: the people who visit our country for surgery and / or receive health care in our public health centers and those who do it in private centers. In this article we present the first reality in quantitative terms. Can we really speak of a true medical tourism in the public health system? Does providing medical assistance to foreigners really affect our public expenditure? Are non-residents exploiting our public health resources? These and other questions arise in this context. This study will conclude that this foreign assistance is prevalent only in a few areas, those being where we border other countries, and where there is a large immigrant population.

Keywords: Health tourism, medical care to foreigners, border health cooperation

Resumen:

El objetivo del presente trabajo es conocer y cuantificar un aspecto de nuestro sistema público de salud que en los últimos años ha recibido un gran interés por parte del gobierno e instituciones, el turismo sanitario. Es importante resaltar que este concepto engloba dos realidades bien diferenciadas: la de aquellas personas que visitan nuestro país para operarse y/o recibir asistencia sanitaria en nuestros centros públicos sanitarios y aquellos que lo hacen en centros privados. Pues bien, en este artículo presentamos una aproximación analítica a la primera de las realidades ¿podemos hablar realmente de un verdadero turismo sanitario en centros públicos? ¿Supone una carga para nuestras arcas públicas esta asistencia médica a extranjeros? ¿Es preocupante el “aprovechamiento” de nuestros recursos públicos sanitarios por personas no residentes? Estas y otras preguntas surgen en este contexto. Del estudio realizado concluiremos que esta asistencia a extranjeros solo tiene una importancia cuantitativa cuando nos referimos a comunidades o regiones de carácter fronterizo o dónde la presencia de población inmigrante extranjera es resaltable.

Palabras clave: Turismo sanitario, asistencia médica a extranjeros, cooperación sanitaria transfronteriza

Article info:

Received: 21/10/2014 / Received in revised form: 12/01/2015
Accepted: 20/01/2015 / Published online: 25/01/2015
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/comunitania.9.4

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Giraldo Chapaprieta, Alejandra y Méndez Pérez, Ester. "Health tourism in Spain: myths and realities", Comunitania, International Journal of Social Work and Social Sciences, 2015, january, n. 9, pp. 91-118. http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/comunitania.9.4

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Technical Data

Title: "Health tourism in Spain: myths and realities"
Author: Giraldo Chapaprieta, Alejandra y Méndez Pérez, Ester
University: UNED
Number:
Pages: "91-118"
Date: 2015, january
URL: http://www.comunitania.com/alejandra-giraldo-chapaprieta-y-ester-mendez-perez-health-tourism-in-spain-myths-and-realities/
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/comunitania.9.4
Magazine: Comunitania, International Journal of Social Work and Social Sciences
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Giraldo Chapaprieta, Alejandra y Méndez Pérez, Ester. "Health tourism in Spain: myths and realities", Comunitania, International Journal of Social Work and Social Sciences, 2015, january, n. 9, pp. 91-118. http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/comunitania.9.4