The European Commission has warned that it may launch infringement action against Spain unless the country's hospitals stop refusing emergency treatment to European Union citizens on holiday. The Commission is receiving reports, concerning 20 different hospitals, of treatment being refused to foreign EU nationals unless they pay on the spot.
Under EU law, member states must offer foreign EU citizens who present a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) the same treatment as nationals for emergency medical care. The bill should then be submitted to the health authorities of the patient's home country.
“In some cases people were apparently left in pain in the corridor until they paid up, or gave details of their private travel health insurance,” said Jonathan Todd, spokesperson for European commissioner for social affairs László Andor.