I have been asking myself the very same question for 17 years now. I have to say that coming from the hustle and bustle of a big city, it wasn’t the most difficult choice that I have ever had to make. Apart from the obvious, I will be doing a series of blogs aimed at providing an in depth look at key factors such as health, education, shopping, lifestyle and the different areas available to buy in Los alcázares.
First on my list is exactly what is available to you and what type of service you can expect. Los Alcázares is about an 8 – 10-minute drive to the local hospital. It’s actually a University hospital and well recognised in the region of Murcia. There are three private car parks which have easy access. These are located to the front of the A&E section, immediately in front of the canteen and to the very rear of the Hospital.
Most of the state health checks with specialists are covered there for this area with the specialist hospital that treats Cancer based issues a 15 -20-minute drive in the opposite direction. The original location for this Hospital was in an area called “Santiago de la Ribera”, it was a beach front location in those days and had a completely different look and feel about it. These days there is a scheduled bus service which will pick you up from Los Alcázares and take you directly to the Hospital, it’s free and a very nice gesture from local government.
The computer system only works up to 3 months in advance so if a specialist requests an appointment longer than that you will have to return to the desk or phone to make another appointment within the 3-month rule. Most of the English community are told that they need a translator but to be honest that’s just because the front desk staff put up a fight. In my own personal opinion, most people can get by depending on confidence and health complaint. Translators range between 9 and 20 euros an hour.
The push to learn English has become more relevant and the same is true the other way round. The number of language academy’s in the area have quadrupled so in general, the language barrier is less prominent as a topic for discussion.
There are two Doctor’s clinics in this town, one located in the town Centre catchment area and the other in the Los Narejos district. There is no difference between the two and you do not get a choice as it’s determined solely on which of the district your property is located in. There is an APP to make an appointment to see a Doctor and you can obtain the address on Centro Salud´s main website.
Generally speaking the state care system is fantastic and aftercare operations etc have much shorter waiting times compared to the UK. Taking a translator for local appointments is again dependent on your needs, certainly whilst you are settling down it should be considered. It’s a very good idea to do your homework on this subject as we all need some medical treatment once in a way.
That said, most of the community really target this area on the strength of the fact that we have such a unique micro climate that allows for 320 days of sunshine. Mild temperatures and the quality of air provide a solid criteria to base a decision to live here on. It’s a very flat area so biking, running or just walking are options for most of the year. You can research the health benefits online. I will be covering sports in a future blog post.
There are 5 main pharmacies that serve this area, at first you have to get a little used to the branding on medicine boxes but it doesn’t take long. Most pharmacies display a green flashing light to show that they are open and they all work on a shift system with an external dropbox system. If you have a prescription they retain the barcode on the medicine packets and give you a discounted amount that you have to pay over the counter.
Having experienced the way in which we need access to medical history, take a photo on any smartphone and either open a Flickr account or simply store the image on a free Gmail drive application. Worth doing if you don’t want to carry all your paperwork around with you and it also serves as a backup should you need it at a later date.
If you need to see a Doctor outside clinic hours there are two options. The first is to go next to the Police Station in San Javier and to the left of the building near the car park there is a walk in clinic. The other option is the A&E department at the Hospital I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, in my next one I will be talking about jobs and the economy.