Some undocumented immigrants, who recently lost their right to treatment under Spain’s NHS, have received a reprieve, according to the director of the Canary Islands Health Service (SCS), Juana Maria Reyes.
Patients, already on the waiting list for surgery before August 28, will be treated even if that treatment extends beyond the September 1 deadline.
In a statement released by the Ministry of Health, Reyes said that as of August 28 all patient data will be analysed to determine what entitlement, if any, illegal immigrants are due.
Reyes went on to stress that certain sectors of the population will be exempt from the new regime. These include all under-18s, pregnant women going into labour, anyone with a serious contagious disease and those presenting at hospital accident and emergency departments.
Unlike the British health system, Spain’s equivalent of the NHS has qualifying criteria.
For EU citizens this means you have to prove entitlement, either as a pensioner, a worker paying National Insurance Contributions, (or be a registered dependant of someone who is), or be registered as unemployed.
Computerisation has increased recently to the extent that tax authorities and the NHS are sharing data, which has already led to the discovery of thousands of fraudulent claims and that number looks set to increase as the authorities actively seek out bogus claimants.