A former National Health Service State Registered Nurse, and her husband moved to Mallorca last October and completed all their required paperwork, residency permits etc., but the only problem appeared to have been obtaining public health coverage in Mallorca. They were told that they had to have apparently been a resident for at least a year to be eligible - so at great cost they took out private health insurance for a year.
Then, a few weeks ago, she set about trying to obtain Covid vaccines for her and her husband and came up against a brick wall and, after having tried to talk to various authorities, turned to the Bulletin for help.
“I have just (with great difficulty) managed to speak to our health care insurer. The lady told me categorically that the vaccine is being done via public health and they have not been told of any involvement in the campaign. I asked her that if we didn’t have public health as we haven’t been here a year so weren’t allowed it, what was the situation for us (in effect, in limbo). She said she didn’t know and could not help. That it was a public health issue.
“I will try the PAC in Santa Ponsa tomorrow as a last resort,” she said after I gave her the best advice I could, considering that although the Bulletin is, to a certain extent, a public service, none of the staff are professionals in this field. I suggested going to her health centre armed with all of her paperwork and trying to resolve the matter face to face. “I went to the PAC myself, armed with every piece of paper I thought they would need. The lady in Santa Ponsa was really kind and made an appointment for us to go to administration on Friday, so we could be added to the waiting list.
“Basically, if you do not have a health card, EHIC, Cert of Padron, NIE, Passport and a SIP completed, it is extremely difficult. Tell people there is no point ringing any number, it is best to go in person.”
However, having appeared to have resolved the matter and secured a position on the list for a vaccine, there has been another twist in events.
Yesterday she said: “Just an update on our attempts to get on the list for a vaccine call. So, after turning up with a printed appointment on Friday, following a visit to show all documents (along with the email from you/your contact), I faced the same issues all over again.
“I showed the appointment slip and presented the same documents and the additional blue EHIC card she asked me to bring. She briefly looked at them then proceeded to tell me she could not process without the actual NIE card. This was the exact same woman who had given me the original appointment.
“I explained that the new NIE is now tied in with the Residencia, that due to bureaucratic delays we have been waiting for ours since October and that we have yet to receive it. I showed her the proof that it’s in process. At this she got cross and shook her head.
“It took a lot of (polite) argument on my part, with the help of Google Translate, to convince her that that was not what she told me last week, that she had simply asked for the addition of the EHIC at our appointment.
“All this was done at the normal reception desk, so unsure why we were given the appointment in the first place. I had to literally plead with her and ‘kill her with kindness’ ('many thanks for your kindness and patience' etc.) until she finally relented and photocopied everything, then issued a notification that we are now on the list.
“She wrote on the paper that we can only use the EHIC until 2/6/21. That after this date we can’t get the vaccine. I’m baffled as to what the EHIC has to do with getting a public health vaccine.
“I genuinely fear for the possibility that anyone who is not a Spanish citizen will ever actually be able to get the vaccine when their age group is called. I have never known so many anomalies for what should be a simple process. That, along with the unnecessary rudeness demonstrated both face to face and on the phone towards non-Spanish trying to simply get their name on a list to be called.
“I wonder if the Spanish Government is even aware of the lack of knowledge/information which has filtered down to local level about the correct rules and process My husband is disabled deaf, had cancer last year and is over 65, so it is concerning to me that people like him will be missed out. It won’t be through the lack of trying on my part.
“I have found the whole thing incredibly stressful, as I only speak a little Spanish and, for my little family, all communicating falls to me due to my husband's disability. There are lots of British expats here, yet there is absolutely no provision for phone contact or notices in English. At least in lots of other countries there are options for other languages.
“I get we are in Spain and it’s up to me to learn the language, but surely the Spanish Government could provide a little help, to make communication easier for both parties. I was literally shaking and anxious yesterday at this (so-called) appointment. Not good on behalf of the Spanish health care system.
“I just wanted you to know that what was promised, was changed yet again on the day in order to warn other readers.”