Madrid tightens up on health IDs

If you live in Madrid and have been prescribed meds by your doctor, make sure you have your Madrid health insurance card handy before you head to the pharmacy.

Madrid tightens up on health IDs
From Friday 1st March it will be mandatory to show your Madrid health card together with your prescription at pharmacies across the province. Photo: vitelone/Flickr

From Friday March 1st it will be mandatory to show your card together with your prescription, if you don’t want to pay full price for your medication that is.

The new card comes with a magnetic strip that pharmacists will swipe to determine how much you have to pay.

It also has all your personal details: full name, social security and ID number.

     Standard Community of Madrid health card. Photo: Official Pharmacist Association of Madrid (COFM)

Even if you already have a Madrid health card, head down to your local health clinic and check that everything's in order.

Make sure you have all the necessary documents at hand: NIE, passport or national ID, social security affiliation document (with your number on it), proof of residence and work contract.

Things could be a little chaotic at the start of the new regime though: pharmacists foresee problems with the magnetic strips being damaged and a period of adaptation to the new online system.

“The system should have been in place on January 1st, and aside from the delays we’re not even sure if it’s going to work well or not as we haven’t really had the chance to try it out enough before the new law came along,” said a local pharmacist. 

Madrid’s Pharmacists’ Association (COFM) has been busy trying to introduce a new online system called SISCATA since the provincial government passed legislation last year requiring prescription prices to be determined by income.

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Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.