How bad can a language barrier be?
You’re in Barcelona with your partner, embarking on a 2-month long trip across Europe. You’ve been preparing for this adventure for weeks and it’s finally happening. This is the first city of many in a continent you’ve yet to explore and you’re levels of excitement cannot be contained.
However, during the first week in this amazing city, you seem to have developed a pain in your eye and you seem to be very sensitive to the sunlight. After a few days of concern, you head over to a pharmacy to get advice. The pharmacist speaks very little English and communication is generally poor. It seems that the pharmacist is hesitant to give you any eye drops and is hinting that you might need to see a doctor.
What do you do now? Do you go to the hospital? An outpatients clinic? Where do you find an English speaking Doctor in Barcelona?
As a pharmacist writing this article, it would be absolutely necessary to see a practitioner if you were presenting these symptoms so that a full examination can be conducted. And of course, if you were these two travelers, you’d feel quite intimidated and worried being in an unknown country where a completely different healthcare system exists. Let alone the inability to communicate your symptoms effectively.
In an ideal world, if you’re in a situation like this, which unfortunately happens more often than you think, you’ll want to be treated as quickly and effectively as possible. Of course, your health is absolutely the most important factor here, but you also want to feel better faster so you can make the most of your travels. Therefore, if you’re in Barcelona and you do fall ill, the key is to find an English speaking Doctor or one who speaks the same language as you as quick as possible.
Barcelona’s Healthcare System
Before I explain the simple process of how to book an English speaking Doctor in Barcelona through TripMedic, it’s definitely worth understanding how the healthcare system works here in Catalunya.
Public Healthcare in Barcelona
Barcelona’s healthcare system is actually one of the best in Europe. It is free to those paying into the Spanish social security system. In Catalunya, the local health authority is CatSalut.
To have access to free public healthcare, you have to be a resident in Spain or be registered as a freelancer. This is also known as “autonomo”. However, exceptions to this apply to those who are children, pensioners, pregnant women and who are receiving certain state benefits.
As a traveler, or an expat who hasn’t been here long, accessing the public healthcare system will be complex, time-consuming and communication will pose another barrier.
Private Healthcare in Barcelona
One-quarter of Spain’s population have private health insurance. One of the big ones in Barcelona is through the provider Sanitas (link). Although public healthcare is generally very good, there are advantages to private healthcare here in Barcelona:
- It’s relatively cost-effective in comparison to other countries.
- Doctors can be seen much more quickly.
- The facilities you’ll use are generally more comfortable.
- You can see a specialist of your choice.
Private healthcare is an option for expats who are planning to stay long-term in Barcelona. However, for those shorter-term and who are on their travels, again, this option poses difficulties. One must consider the time and the guarantee of an English speaking doctor or specialist.
The best of both worlds
Understanding that your health is the number one priority, your condition and travels are time-sensitive and communication can be a big barrier where you are, we created TripMedic. It helps solve these real-world issues we face today.
We’ve made it super easy for you to find an English Speaking Doctor here in Barcelona. Whatever specialty you require, whether it be for your eyes, nose or blood, we can help you. Booking a doctor can be done online or over the phone and is very simple. All you need to do is:
- Select what kind of practitioner you’re looking for.
- Select the language you require.
- Book a vetted specialist in one of the appointment slots that day.
By increasing access to healthcare like this in the language you speak, not only are you going to feel better quicker, you’ll have peace of mind that you’ll have been taken care of as effectively as back home.
Now, let’s get back to exploring the rest of this fine city.