The latest edition of Forbes España’s book Best Doctors Spain is now out, splitting those named into a total of 27 specialist areas and including them based upon merits such as scientific achievements, awards or distinctions earned, their presence in the communications media, the opinions of their patients, their positive impact on the hospitals they work for, their positions of relevance in their field, and their contributions to care, research and training or education.
Editor of Forbes España Andrés Rodríguez says: “With this manual, we’re seeking to recognise the excellence in Spanish health care in all areas.”
Spain has long been among the top countries in the world for quality of service and care and levels of training and techniques in medicine – although the actual care received, waiting times and doctors’ knowledge is, like in all countries, a postcode lottery, the standard across the board is generally high.
Just like every health service in the world, its actual quality will always be affected by whether it receives just enough, insufficient, or more than ample funding, but in general, if a patient goes to his or her GP with a concern, symptom or issue, the correct referral to the nearest specialist or for whatever tests are necessary will be made immediately, any medication needed and which is covered by the public health system will be prescribed irrespective of the cost to the service, and nobody is made to ‘feel silly’ or ‘feel guilty’ for raising what is, to them personally, a legitimate concern.
Spanish doctors usually say they would rather ‘waste time’ on what turns out to be ‘nothing’ than not be consulted for what turns out to be ‘something’, and which could have been successfully treated if the patient had arranged a consultation at the first signs of its appearance.
Prevention is also key in the Spanish health service: Mammograms are given to all women from age 45 to 69 inclusive, although if they are older or younger and request one, will be referred anyway; colon cancer screening is carried out for the entire population from age 50, and even smear tests will involve a full gynaecological examination with ultrasounds, whether or not there is any cause.
Although the capital city and its wider region, and Spain’s second-largest metropolitan area, Barcelona, make up the bulk of entries, Forbes doctors can be found nationwide.
For Valencia, the Hospital Clínico gains an entry via preventive medicine specialist Dr Rafael Manuel Ortí Lucas, as does the private Quirónsalud centre, via dermatologist Dr José María Ricart Vayà.
Two famous doctors not on the Forbes list – a factor that will surprise many readers familiar with Spanish medical news – are Ana Lluch Hernández, head of Valencia University’s faculty of medicine and of the city’s Hospital Clínico’s haematology and oncology team, long held to be one of the country’s top specialists in and researchers into breast cancer, and traumatologist, orthopaedic and plastic surgeon Pedro Cavadas, based in Manises, near Valencia airport, who is world-famous for his limb transplants and re-implants, including legs above the knee, arms above the elbow, and even faces.