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Medical professionals in Malaga are ranked among some of the best in Spain. Freepik
International residents enjoy life in Spain with the best in private healthcare
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International residents enjoy life in Spain with the best in private healthcare

Health & Wellness ·

Faster and personalised care and commitment to innovation through technology are the main factors behind the growing prominence of private medical insurance in Malaga province

SUR

Monday, 3 June 2024, 12:56

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With Malaga’s ever-expanding international community, it is more important than ever that foreigners have private health insurance that provides them with more flexible care, shorter waiting times, a more personalised service adapted to the patient’s needs and additional coverage for services such as dental care and alternative medicine. It also improves access to multilingual medical professionals, ensuring that there is help readily available in patients’ native language.

The importance of private healthcare on the Costa del Sol is reflected in the data: Malaga is the Andalusian province with the highest percentage of private healthcare users, completely surpassing Seville. In fact, a recent report by the Spanish Association of Insurers and Reinsurers (Unespa) puts the number of Malaga residents with private insurance at 497,902, that is, 30% of the province’s population.

This upward trend is further demonstrated in a convincing statistic: the purchase of private health insurance broke a new record in Malaga in 2023, with over 27,000 new policies taken out in that year alone.

If we compare the figures to those of a decade ago, the upward curve is more than evident: the private health sector in Malaga has gained over 200,000 insured users between 2012 and 2022. In other words, it has practically doubled in the decade.

Private healthcare centres

Although the success of private healthcare in Malaga is undeniable, we should not overlook the commitment and professionalism of private hospitals and healthcare centres around the province.

Proof of the quality of their service is the frequency with which these private healthcare centres are ranked among the best in Spain. For example, in the 2023 edition of the Monitor de Reputación Sanitaria de Hospitales (MRS) - a reputation study compiled using almost 8,000 surveys by medical professionals - four of Malaga’s private hospitals were classed among the 50 best rated in Spain.

The same is true of healthcare professionals working in the private sector: three doctors from Malaga have been included in a prestigious list which ranks the top 50 private healthcare practitioners in the country. They were honoured in the Top Doctors medical directory, which is determined by the ratings of their own colleagues.

Investment in state-of-the-art medical technology, the implementation of innovative lines of research and the adaptation of medical services to the needs and demands of the patient, are some of the foundations on which the private healthcare sector has gained more prominence in the province.

Essential to the national health system

The Institute for the Development and Integration of Healthcare (IDIS), in its 2023 report, notes the various and important contributions of the private sector to the national health system in Spain.

Private healthcare plays an integral part in Spain’s productive sector (3.1% and, if we add the contribution of the public sector, it represents 10.4% of the country’s GDP) - a percentage that makes it almost as essential to the national economy as tourism.

This sector also frees up public health resources, improves accessibility to healthcare, collaborates with and complements the public health sector, promotes highly complex research using the most advanced technology (34.8% of patents filed in the health sector last year were private initiatives), continuously strives to improve the quality of care, generates employment (more than 290,000 jobs, which accounts for 7.5% of all healthcare employees in Spain) and actively participates in the mental health care of the population (70% of mental health and addiction treatment centres are private).

The private healthcare sector in Malaga has gained more than 200,000 policyholders between 2012 and 2022, doubling its number of users

The IDIS report further shows that the collaboration between the public and private sectors is indispensable to the strength of the national health system. The Unespa report at the beginning of the article emphasises that ‘public and private healthcare are not rivals, but complement each other’. This collaboration is particularly important in the field of research. In this regard, Javier Urzay, deputy director-general of Farmaindustria, recently said that research “is based on a successful model of public-private collaboration, along with hospitals and research centres, which has managed to position Spain as a benchmark in clinical research at an international level, as well as strengthen the productive fabric and open strategic autonomy”.

This collaborative model between the public and private sector when it comes to medical research reached a new milestone last year, when investment in R&D reached a record high of 1.39 billion euros, accounting for 20% of all industrial R&D in Spain.

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