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Health and medical insurance in Gibraltar

 Gibraltar is a strip of land that juts off from the southern Spanish mainland and out into the western reaches of the Mediterranean. Despite its nearly equal positioning from Seville and Málaga, its identity is far from Spanish, as it has remained a British subject since 1713. There are an estimated 33,0001 Gibraltarians living there right now. 

Gibraltar enjoys a high standard of healthcare with a wide range of modern medical facilities both public and private. There are two main healthcare options when living in Gibraltar: registering with the public health service (Gibraltar Health Authority, the GHA) or purchasing private medical insurance. The GHA gives you low-cost or free access to general practitioners, specialists and emergency care. However, access to this service depends on your official status in the country, your employment and your social security contributions.

So, if you’re planning on living in the country, whether it’s for work, retirement, or a different pace of life, it’s important to consider your healthcare options before you go. We understand that it can seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. 

The following will help answer questions you may have about the healthcare systems within Gibraltar and what benefits there are to choosing private healthcare insurance.

FAQ's

Gibraltar boasts similar health, and standards of care, to most western European countries. Overall, the standard of healthcare in Gibraltar is considered excellent. Both public and private hospitals are well equipped, and the majority of conditions can be treated without the need to seek help elsewhere. Being a British overseas territory, the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) delivers primary, secondary and mental health care using a model very similar to the British National Health Service (NHS).  This means when needed, referrals are often made to the NHS as well as in Spanish hospitals due to closeness. All medical treatment required is arranged through the Group Practice Medical Scheme.

It is also worth knowing that English is the official language of Gibraltar, though the majority of the medical staff are fluent in both English and Spanish.

There are two ways of accessing Gibraltar’s healthcare system (The Gibraltar Health Authority or GHA): 

Registering with the GHA

Since Gibraltar is a British territory, if you are British you are eligible for free medical care on production of a valid UK passport. It is recommended that expats from any country other than the UK should check their eligibility with the GHA.

In order to register at your local Primary Care Centre you require the following items:

  • A valid photo ID
  • A passport photo
  • Proof social security contributions are up to date (this can be done by providing GHA with your tax number or obtaining a letter from the Contributions Unit confirming payment)
Using a European Health Insurance Card

EU citizens with a European Health Insurance Card can get free coverage from the GHA but access to public services may be more difficult to obtain for a number of other nationalities. For these reasons expats usually prefer to take out private medical insurance, as going private provides immediate cover without the need for additional delays and paperwork. 

The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state-provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Spanish nationals. A EHIC or GHIC is not an alternative to travel or private medical insurance and you should look into your options before you travel. You will not be covered for medical repatriation, on-going medical treatment or non-urgent treatment.

Individuals who work in Gibraltar, but are residing in Spain are also eligible for free healthcare but first need to obtain a work contract form provided by the Employment and Training Board located at New Harbours. 

Your company’s HR department may be able to advise if you plan on being a resident in Spain. While Spain is considerably cheaper to live in, it will require additional paperwork and you should also be aware the border situation remains uncertain in the aftermath of Brexit. Your company should be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information. They may also be able to recommend a legal professional in Spain, who can assist you with paperwork.

It is strongly recommended to begin the Spanish paperwork process as soon as you can to get your NIE number (foreign identity number). This is an ID number for foreigners in Spain and is required to access various services, including healthcare. 

Emergency Care

The generic emergency number in Gibraltar is 112, and this can be used to reach not only medical but for fire and police too. This emergency number can be called from any telephone, landline, or mobile (even without a SIM card) for free. 

The Ambulance service can be reached by dialling 190

The Accident & Emergency Department (A&E) is also available to provide care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for those who are suffering with an illness or injury which needs urgent attention.

Pharmacies

Generally, pharmacies are open from 9am to 6pm weekdays, and from 9am to 1pm Saturdays. There is however always an out of hours pharmacy available, on weekends and public holidays.

Pharmacies work for a duty rota to determine who stays open outside normal hours. All pharmacies are obligated to have a notice in their window indicating the current duty pharmacy. It is also possible to download a copy of the duty roster from the GHA website.

Dental cover

Gibraltar’s public health system only covers dental care for children up to the age of 18 (or up to 19 if in full-time education) and people on supplementary benefits. Adults (not on supplementary benefits) do not receive free dental care. So, if you are looking for routine dental cover for your entire family you will be required to go private.

Doctor Appointments and Prescriptions

There are two main ways of making a GP appointment in Gibraltar. 

MyGHA Automatic Telephone Booking System

The most straightforward way is by using the MyGHA Automatic Telephone Booking System. On this system appointments for a telephone conversation with a GP can be made by calling 2000 7007. Appointments for the following day become available each evening at 6pm.

On-the-day Telephone Booking

To make an on-the-day telephone booking you will need to call 2005 2441. This phone line opens at 8:15am.

For those unable to get a morning appointment, there is also an evening clinic. Telephone appointments at this clinic can be made by calling 2005 2441 from 4:30pm-7pm.

Appointments for the Saturday and Sunday clinics can be made on the day by calling 2005 2441

Locals are generally proud of their healthcare system in Gibraltar though they are also aware of its limitations. Many Gibraltarians, given the choice, opt to go private as it allows access to a broader range of services within a shorter period of time. That being said the GHA’s rapid vaccine rollout, for example, is a particular source of pride. The rollout provided free vaccinations to both residents and cross-border workers, giving Gibraltar the world’s highest vaccination rate.

The private health sector in Gibraltar is expanding. More new modern facilities were built in recent years and cater to the growing demand. Privately insured patients can also gain swifter access to top medical facilities in neighbouring Spain when required. 

The main consideration for expats should be cross-border coverage. While Gibraltar has an extensive healthcare system, it is nonetheless limited by the country’s small population. It has one hospital and limited practitioners so you may end up being referred externally. Additionally, complications stemming from Brexit mean this situation remains complicated and can change at any moment. The Gibraltar Government regularly publishes advisories via social media on the changing situation. For these reasons, even if you are planning to reside in Gibraltar full time, many find it helpful to have international coverage which not only covers you when visiting your home country but also means you are covered in Spain, in the event that you require treatment which is not available in Gibraltar. It also gives you more control over where and how you can seek treatment and how soon you receive it. 

If you are relocating to Gibraltar for work, the first step would be to see if your company already provides private health insurance coverage. Depending on the nature of the work, your company may already extend coverage to full-time employees. So, once your probationary period has been passed (normally 3 to 6 months) you may automatically gain coverage under the company’s plan. 

Even if your company does not provide insurance, your company’s HR department should still be able to point you in the right direction and provide advice and assistance in accessing all the proper documentation – this is of particular importance if you opt to work in Gibraltar but reside in Spain. 

Length of cover

Need cover for more than 11 months?

Long-term cover

Although a move abroad can be complicated and exhausting, our annual cover plans are designed to give you the peace of mind you deserve. Ranging from mental health services to 24/7 personalised support, we’ve got you covered. It’s time to start your new life in Gibraltar.


Need cover for between 3 and 11 months?

Short-term cover

Whether you’re relocating to Gibraltar to work for 6 months or taking 10 months to find the perfect area to settle, we’ll cover you for any period of time between 3 and 11 months. Our short-term international health plan will cover general health and emergency care, with a variety of optional benefits to choose from.

Benefits

With incredible scenery and wildlife, matched with a pretty thriving shopping scene, there is so much to explore in Gibraltar when you move. We want to make sure you enjoy every minute of it, with comprehensive health insurance.

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Virtual Doctor service

Getting an in-person appointment when in a foreign country can be very difficult and daunting. Our Virtual Doctor service allows you to get in touch with a qualified doctor, whenever it suits you and from wherever you are through video or phone.2

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Claims and Compensation

Compensation should be simple. Provided we have all the right information, around 80% of all eligible claims are paid within 48 hours.3  We can also pay the providers in our network directly, so, you can get back to enjoying all that Gibraltar has to offer.

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Evacuation and Repatriation

Whether you’ve relocated to Gibraltar, or just working there while living over the border in Spain, our team can arrange evacuation and repatriation services to get you the help you need.

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Mind Health service

Moving away from your support network and settling in a new country can be a challenging experience. Connect with qualified professionals from our dedicated Mind Health service.4

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Second Medical Opinion service

Sometimes things get lost in translation. So, for those moments when you just aren’t quite sure, you can get an independent second medical opinion from the experts.5

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Emergency Cover

From overnight hospital stays to ambulance transport, our comprehensive plans offer emergency cover as standard. And with optional extras like dental care and out-patient services, you can choose a package that suits you.

Who we help

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Professionals

For working professionals in Gibraltar’s main urban areas, we give you one less thing to think about. Many of our plans include eye tests, prescriptions and a range of outpatient services.

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Families

If you’re looking to start a new chapter in Gibraltar, our annual plans are great for families with different budgets. We offer coverage that includes routine and non-routine dental check-ups, vaccinations, asthma treatments and prescription glasses. Our annual international health insurance packages also offer maternity and pregnancy benefits. 

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Retirees

For retirees wanting some extra safety and security, we offer cover with annual health check-ups, palliative care and disability compensation, giving you and your family financial peace of mind.

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Give us a call on +44 (0)1892 596418*.

*Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm (GMT).

Calls may recorded and/or monitored for quality assurance, training and as a record of the conversation.

The Virtual Doctor, Mind Health and Second Medical Opinion services are provided by Teladoc Health.

All information in this article was correct at the time of publishing

Local insights have been approved by Oban International’s LIME (Local In-Market Expert) network’ - https://obaninternational.com/lime-network/ 

1 https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/gibraltar-population 

2 The virtual doctor service is provided by Teladoc Health. Appointments are subject to availability. You do not need to pay or claim for a consultation, but you will be charged for the cost of the initial phone call when using the call back service. You won’t be charged if you request a call back using the app or online portal. Telephone appointments are available 24/7/365 and call-backs are typically within 24 hours. Telephone appointments in Greek are available between 09:00 and 21:00 EET, 7 days a week. Video appointments in English, Spanish and Mandarin are available between 08.00 and 00.00 UK time, Monday to Friday. Video appointments in German are available between 08:00 -20:00 CET, Monday to Friday.

3 80.5% of eligible claims submitted online between January 2022-December 2022, were paid within two days

4 Service provided by Teladoc Health. This service provides you with access to six sessions with a psychologist, per mind health concern, per policy year. Mind Health psychologist appointments are available in English and Spanish between Monday and Friday, 09:00 – 17:30 (UK time)

5 Service provided by Teladoc Health