British Vice-Consul Rosslyn Crotty explains, “We are seeing an increase in British citizens who are in desperate need of assistance following an illness or cash problems.
This is a growing concern. We want people to think about the future, speak to their families and take steps to plan for the years ahead before it’s too late.
Difficulties facing British Nationals include those who have received hospital treatment and are ready to be discharged but have no one to look after them, people who desperately need residential care but are ineligible as they failed to register on the Padrón, and others who failed to register for their social security cards and thus lack entitlement to healthcare.
There are also residents who find themselves homeless and have either lost their passports or allowed them to expire, and thus cannot get help from many support charities.
The Consulate and charity groups are warning British citizens who are resident in Spain that they must register on the Padrón at their local town halls in order to qualify for help from social services in the future.
When you decide to live abroad you are also choosing to rely on the services of the country you live in. If you fail to register your name, you are putting yourself at huge risk of being unable to get future help when you most need it.
Anette Skou of the Foreigners Department in Mijas says.
In most cases where social services are powerless to help it is because the British nationals involved have not registered on the Padrón. We urge all British residents in Spain to REGISTER ON THE PADRÓN – YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE.
The workshop was attended by the Royal British Legion, Red Cross, Age Concern, Age Care, Caritas, The Soroptomists, Lux Mundi and La Cala Diabetics Association, as well as social workers from across Malaga province, all of whom come into contact with British residents on a daily basis.
Charity groups also stressed the huge importance in Spanish culture of providing family support to people in difficulty. There are laws in Spain designed to avoid family members being abandoned to the state.
But in the UK, society’s expectations of the social support provided by public hospitals and services are higher. British expatriates often fail to understand the much greater level of support that family and friends are expected to provide in Spain, charity groups say.