BALEARIC Island health authorities have scrapped the charge for renewing patients' medical cards when they expire, become lost, damaged or stolen, or their personal details change.
Until now, anyone who needed a new SIP card – which features their healthcare service number and Social Security number, and is swiped at the till when collecting prescriptions and required for booking appointments – had to pay an 'admin' fee of €8.43.
For those living on the breadline, this could mean even skipping doctor's appointments or not picking up prescriptions because of the cost involved in renewing a SIP card.
But the Balearic regional government has axed its Budgets Law, which imposed the charge.
Over the course of 2015, health centres in Mallorca issued 171,764 SIP cards; clinics in Ibiza printed 29,658; those in Menorca issued 14,932, and practices in Formentera gave out 2,325 – a total of 218,679 for the entire region.
Collecting a new SIP card for residents in the Balearic Islands requires an appointment, which can be booked in person at the patient's nearest clinic, or by telephoning 902 079 079, and further information is available on the regional health authority website, Ibsalut.es.
Patients should bring their DNI card to the appointment if they are Spanish nationals; their photo residence card if they are non-EU citizens living in the islands, or their NIE certificate if they are from the EU, along with a separate passport-sized colour photograph.