Ministry of Health (Spain)

Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality

Headquarters (Madrid)
Agency overview
Formed July 4th, 1977 as Ministry of Health and Social Security
Preceding agencies
  • Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs
  • Ministry of Health and Social Policy
Type Ministry
Jurisdiction Spanish government
Headquarters 18, Paseo del Prado Madrid
Agency executive
  • Dolors Montserrat Montserrat, Minister
Website Ministry of Health (in Spanish)

The Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality (Spanish: 'Ministerio de Sanidad, Servicios Sociales e Igualdad) [1] is the ministry of the Government of Spain responsible for proposing and implementing the Government's guidelines on health policy, planning and health care and consumer products as well as on Social Affairs (Social Cohesion and Inclusion, Family, Children, Dependent and Disabled) and distributing the general state budget among its agencies.

The ministry is headquartered in the Paseo del Prado in Madrid, opposite the Prado Museum.


Further information: Palacio de Xifré

Early period

The current Ministry was created in the Constituent Legislature in 1977, integrating responsibilities for Health that were hitherto managed by the Ministry of the Interior, and the powers of the Secretariat of Social Security. [2]

References can be found to the action of Government in public health and welfare in the nineteenth century. A Royal Decree of 9 November 1832 created a Ministry of Public Works and Transport, which included powers over "the field of health with the infirmaries, water and mineral baths" and "charitable institutions". [3] A further Royal Decree of March 10, 1847, created a Department of Health, one of six that made up what is now the Ministry of the Interior. [4] State powers in this area remained with this department until 1933, when the Secretariat of Health and Welfare was transferred to the Ministry of Labour, which then became known as the Ministry of Labour and Health. [5] On November 4, 1936, the Ministry of Health and Welfare was created, with a woman holding a cabinet portfolio for the first time in the history of Spain: Federica Montseny. [6] This ministry was short-lived. When the Prime Minister of the Republic, Juan Negrín, replaced Francisco Largo Caballero the ministry was abolished and absorbed into the Ministry of Labour, once again under a decree of July 5, 1937. After the Spanish Civil War, the responsibility returned to the Ministry of the Interior until 1977.

Constituent legislature 1977 -

Royal Decree 1558 of July 4, 1977 established the ministry in its current form, including responsibility for Social Security. Staffing consisted of two secretariats (the Department and Health), a Technical Secretariat and six Directorates: Staff, Management and Finance, Benefits, Social Services Healthcare, Pharmaceutical Management and Public Health and Veterinary Public Health.

For a short period between February and November 1981, Health was once again merged with Labour. Royal Decree 2823 of 1981, restored it to full ministerial rank but this time without social security which remained with the Labour ministry. With the victory of the People's Party in the elections of 1996, Jose Manuel Romay Beccaria was appointed Minister of Health and Consumer Afffairs, a position he held throughout the Sixth Legislature. Under his direction was created in 1997, the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios). In the Seventh Legislature Celia Villalobos became minister (2000-2002) and achieved notoriety by her handling mad cow disease. She was succeeded by Ana Pastor Julián (2002-2004). The mad cow crisis precipitated the creation, under Law 11/2001, of the Spanish Food Safety Agency (Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición, and from 2007: Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición).

At the beginning of the eighth legislature Elena Salgado became minister (2004-7), but the National Plan on Drugs (Plan Nacional sobre Drogas) was shifted to the Ministry of the Interior (2004). On 6 July 2007, Bernat Soria (2007-9), a scientist by background, succeeded her. In the current (ninth) legislature Soria was re-appointed in 2008, and succeeded by Trinidad Jiménez (2009–10) following a cabinet shuffle. Under Jiménez Social Policy was returned to the health portfolio, including the Institute for the Elderly and Social Services (Instituto de Mayores y Servicios Sociales), previously under Education. Under Leire Pajín (October 2010-December 2011), responsibility for Equality issues were added to her duties, previously under a separate ministry of its own, and the Institute for Women (Instituto de la Mujer), and the Institute for Youth (Instituto de la Juventud). At the beginning of the current tenth legislature Ana Mato became minister. On 24 November 2014, she resigned. On 3 December 2014, Alfonso Alonso succeeded her.

List of Ministers of Health

Period Legislative Start End Name Political Party
Reign of
Juan Carlos I
Constituent Legislature (1977 - 1979) 4 July 1977 5 April 1979 Enrique Sánchez de León (1) UCD
I Legislature (1979 - 1982) 5 April 1979 8 September 1980 Juan Rovira Tarazona (1) UCD
8 September 1980 26 February 1981 Alberto Oliart Saussol (1) UCD
26 February 1981 1 December 1981 Jesús Sancho Rof (2) UCD
1 December 1981 2 December 1982 Manuel Núñez Pérez (3) UCD
II Legislature (1982 - 1986) 2 December 1982 25 July 1986 Ernest Lluch Martín (3) PSOE
III Legislature (1986-1989) 25 July 1986 7 December 1989 Julián García Vargas (3) PSOE
IV Legislature (1989-1993) 7 December 1989 12 March 1991 Julián García Vargas (3) PSOE
13 March 1991 14 January 1992 Julián García Valverof (3) PSOE
14 January 1992 13 July 1993 José Antonio Griñán Martínez (3) PSOE
V Legislature (1993-1996) 13 July 1993 4 May 1996 Ángeles Amador Millán (3) PSOE
VI Legislature (1996-2000) 5 July 1996 27 April 2000 José Manuel Romay Beccaría (3) PP
VII Legislature (2000-2004) 27 April 2000 9 July 2002 Celia Villalobos Talero (3) PP
9 July 2002 17 April 2004 Ana María Pastor Julián (3) PP
VIII Legislature (2004-2008) 18 April 2004 6 July 2007 Elena Salgado Méndez (3) PSOE
6 July 2007 7 April 2009 Bernat Soria Escoms (3) PSOE
IX Legislature (2008-2011) 7 April 2009 20 October 2010 Trinidad Jiménez García-Herrera (4) PSOE
20 October 2010 22 December 2011 Leire Pajín Iraola (5) PSOE
X Legislature (2011-) 22 December 2011 26 November 2014 Ana Mato Adrover (6) PP
Reign of
Felipe VI
(born 2014)
26 November 2014 3 December 2014 Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría Antón (6, interim) PP
3 December 2014 4 November 2016 Alfonso Alonso Aranegui (6) PP

(1) Ministry of Health and Social Security
(2) Ministry of Work, Health and Social Security
(3) Ministry of Health and Consumers
(4) Ministry of Health and Social Policies
(5) Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality
(6) Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality


See also

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