Brits forced to pay for treatment in Spanish hospitals that should be freeRex


British tourists in Spain are being forced to pay for emergency treatment in hospitals despite presenting a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

According to the Daily Mail, holidaymakers are being made to pay for care which should be free and hospitals in popular tourist resorts such as Alicante and Benidorm have installed chip-and-pin devices.

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the NHS covers travellers to Europe against illness and injury while abroad.

Refusing to accept the card could lead to Spanish hospitals paying a fine.

The Daily Mail reports that the payment machines that have been set up throughout Spain are officially used for patients "without the right to [free] treatment" but hundreds of Britons are complaining about being charged.

Ray Burton was taken seriously ill while on holiday in Spain and declined to show his credit card when he entered hospital. He told the Daily Telegraph: "They then asked for insurance details and were quite firm in not wanting the EHIC."

According to the Telegraph, one Briton was reportedly charged £21,000 for emergency surgery for a twisted bowel.

Another was charged £2,500 in Alicante for a head injury.

A European Commission spokesman said that Spain had adopted new guidance on accepting EHICs in July.

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