A nurse cares for a Covid patient in the ICU of a Spanish hospital. / efe

Report reveals the cost of treating Covid patients admitted to hospital in Spain during the first year of the pandemic

Altogether 248,448 people were hospitalised with coronavirus during 2020 and one in 11 needed intensive care


Every patient admitted to hospital with Covid-19 in Spain in 2020 represented a cost of 5,822.22 euros to the health service, 15% more than the average cost for patients with any other illness (5,029.60 euros). In the case of Covid patients who needed intensive care, the cost rose to 18,926.49 euros.

The Spanish health service looked after 248,448 coronavirus patients in hospital during that year, and one in eleven cases had to be cared for in the ICUs, according to the annual report from the Ministry of Health.

Major pressure

Patients with Covid-19 put the hospital system under major pressure. The average stay was 11 days (15 for those in intensive care) and the figures show that those who did not die in hospital were released after an average of 26.47 days. The mortality rate of patients admitted with coronavirus was 16%, and 31% for those in intensive care.

The statistics also show that 7, 144 patients with Covid died in hospital intensive care units, nearly one-third of the total (22,155).

However, the report also provides a paradoxical piece of data: despite the high number of patients admitted due to Covid, the overall cost of hospitalisations in 2020 (16,512,845,736.80 euros) was lower than that of 2019 (17,829,108,780.21 euros).

Apart from the cost of treating Covid patients in hospital, the report also looks at the cost of other patients. The most common were vaginal births, which had an average cost of 2,502.80 euros, and pneumonia, at 4,355 euros.

Transplants were the most expensive procedures, especially heart transplants, which cost 90,101 euros on average, and kidney transplants (the most common), with an average cost of 23,960.60 euros.