All of the main resorts in Lanzarote have a multitude of medical centres, both public and private. The sign “Centro de Salud” denotes the government centres, while the private centres display their services in the main tourist focal points. The public hospital is situated in Lanzarote’s capital Arrecife and there is also a private hospital in Lanzarote’s main resort of Puerto del Carmen.
All of the private centres have a 24-hour on call service, but they are not cheap, so a comprehensive insurance policy is essential before you travel. Each centre will have its own emergency number so it is important that you keep a record of the one nearest to you. It is also advisable that you apply for a European Health Insurance Card, which has replaced the old E111.
This card entitles the holder to necessary State Healthcare in any country within the EEA as well as Switzerland. The EEA Agreement unites the 27 EU member states and the three EFTA EEA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). The EHIC is functional for 2 years in any destination within the EEA thus giving you access to the national health system in Lanzarote. It is important to note that in the case of illness or accident only state-provided emergency treatment is covered, and you will receive treatment on the same terms as nationals of the country you are visiting. For this reason a comprehensive private policy is always recommended, whereby in many cases, a doctor from your own country can treat you.
In most cases the main illnesses encountered will be treatable by one of the local chemists (Farmacia). The local chemists in Lanzarote sell what we would term prescription drugs over the counter but if you require a specific treatment don’t forget to pack it along with the prescription. If you need to purchase medicine in an emergency, outside normal office hours, you will find at least one chemist in your area open 24 hours.
Painkillers such as Paracetamol are only available through a Farmacia and cannot be purchased in a Supermarket. Likewise, these products cannot be bought in a Parafarmacia – a kind of mini-Pharmacy that sells skin products and other non-prescription medicines.
Antibiotics can no longer be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription in Spain.
If you are disabled do check that the accommodation you have chosen is well able to cater for you. Lanzarote airport is well equipped for disabled people. Disabled facilities include ramps, accessible doors and toilets; there are also designated areas outside Departures and Arrivals where disabled passengers can be dropped-off or picked-up. Airlines can provide travellers with wheelchairs. Designated car parking spaces are provided for disabled travellers.
For those that need Dialyses there is a centre in Puerto del Carmen that provides all the necessary treatment and also offers high quality accommodation. It is important to note that renal dialysis can be provided as emergency health care in all EEA countries under the EHIC arrangements. However, you must make advance arrangements before leaving home.
Some basic health tips to make your stay in lanzarote as enjoyable as possible.
- Always wear protective creams when sunbathing for despite the cool breeze you can burn very easily.
- Do take regular breaks from the sun especially in the hotter summer months.
- Drink plenty of bottled water. Although the house water is drinkable it is not advisable. It can be used for making tea or coffee.
- Avoid the consumption of alcoholic drinks during the day. For some of us this may turn out to be impossibility so make sure you overcompensate by drinking plenty of water.
- The government emergency number (Ambulance fire etc) is 112, memorise it!
- Bring all your necessary prescriptions and medication and where important know the generic name of any important medication. The brand name might vary in Spain.
- Take out travel insurance, obtain a EHIC and make those all-important