Self-employed and unregulated
Builders, barmaids and bankrupt businessmen are jetting in as care workers for the elderly, amid a spiralling crisis in social care.
Builders, barmaids and bankrupt businessmen are flying into Britain from Spanish holiday spots to earn lucrative sums as care workers for the elderly, amid a spiralling crisis in social care.
A Telegraph investigation reveals that thousands of expats are funding lifestyles in the sun by jetting in for fortnightly placements to take sole charge of the vulnerable, with, in many cases, just a few days’ training.
British agencies are trawling popular resorts such as Benidorm and Malaga to lure new recruits with the promise of generous earnings, free accommodation and subsidised travel.
Experts said the revelations reflected a “massive crisis” in care of the elderly, with high turnover in the sector, and too many pensioners receiving the most intimate care from virtual strangers.
The agents boasted of a “huge increase” in the number of expats coming from Spain to earn up to almost £1,700 a fortnight, admitting many of those on their books did not want to look after the vulnerable, but were driven by the cash.
Britain’s system of social care is heavily reliant on care workers some of whom are paid for by families, while others are funded directly by the state.
But in recent years there has been a growing shortage of workers, with care homes and firms which provide live-in carers and home help struggling to fill jobs looking after the elderly and disabled.
Regulators have warned that the crisis has now reached a “tipping point” with widespread care home closures and record levels of bed-blocking in hospitals for want of social care.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said the revelations were “yet another symptom of a crisis in social care”.
The investigation reveals that former builders, barmaids, and taxi drivers are among thousands of expats flying back to Britain each month to be responsible for elderly people, those with dementia and learning difficulties.
Many of the recruits have no professional qualifications or previous experience of care and are driven to the work by financial desperation after a crippling downturn in the Spanish economy, or to supplement business interests such as bars and restaurants.
One told The Telegraph he felt “daunted” being put in sole charge of vulnerable people with only a handbook and a telephone number for a supervisor based elsewhere in the UK to fall back on.