MEETING ON SOCIAL CARE AND PUBLIC HEALTHCARE
23RD JANUARY 2018
Sara Munsterhjelm, British Vice Consul in Alicante.
Sara explained what the Consul does and does not do. The phone number to call if you need the Consul is 965216022. If the office is closed the number is diverted to England. She also said there will be Brexit talks in every town in this area for us to attend. If we need information we can do it by computer to gov.uk or Face-book Brits in Spain. Everything they do is on here. She also talked about the British citizens Benevolent Fund here in Spain; I have the leaflet all about them.
Virginia Ayllon Ruiz. Specialist Social Work Advisor for the Centre Spain British Consulate.
Virginia is based in Madrid and works with the Consul in Alicante.
Her talk was mainly about going back to the UK. First of all it is very difficult to get health care in the UK until you live there again and you cannot arrange for health care in the UK while still living in Spain no matter how ill you are. You must have somewhere to live in the UK first and make sure you take all your medical information from the doctor (or hospital) here before you leave.
(I have much more information in a leaflet if anyone needs to read it.)
All talks were based on people that had no, or very little, money and needed extra
Hospital De Denia, Marina Salud and Ayuntamiento De Teulada.
Maite Lopez Arevolo, Encargada responsible for Corporate Development at Denia Hospital gave this talk.
They cover 33 Towns and Villages under La Marina Alta. Their main problems come from tourists who are here for short or long stays. There are over 170,000 people on the Padron, but we were told that many more people are here who are not on the Padron.; please, everyone, get yourselves on the Padron. We were given lots of figures relating to medical care given in this area. One is Calpe which has 20,000 people who can go to the hospital and that 32 % of them are ex- pats. I am not going to give you all the other figures, but Teulada has the highest percentage, and more than 10% do not have any medical cover.
We then had Sonia Dura, Social Worker at Denia Hospital speak to us. She would be happy to come to a meeting of the U3A and talk to us.
She told us they have only 4 social workers for 4 towns in this area, they have to deal with care for children, older people and hospitals. Her talk was about people living on their own as well as people with financial needs. Requests come from all ages and the volume of requests are getting bigger all the time.
So each group ( like the U3A) needs to get in touch with the social workers if they see a problem, look out for older people’s living conditions that they may need help with, if they live away from towns or villages and cannot get the help they need there. This is especially if they have no family. Maite Lopez will try to coordinate everyone and each group if possible. They want us to tell them if we think someone is at risk, even if we feel it might happen in the future. We need to tell them where these people live so that it might not be too late to help them. They might need to know about residential homes for the future, and so much more. The person who might be involved must give their consent.
The hospital deals with long term illnesses, and maybe there is no money, or family that can help, so the Social Care team needs to work out if they can get the person into a home or have someone come to the house to help. If the patient has mental problems, or memory problems, this is another field they have to deal with. No one should come out of hospital without help at home. At the moment, Carers (paid and unpaid) are over-loaded with work; family members in the UK can only be contacted if the patient gives permission. Even if they do get in touch with a family member, they may not be able to come over here right away, so that is a problem. They also try to help people who only have a small pension and cannot afford to pay for carers etc.; these people may need extra help in their homes, so they can arrange for home helps, meals on wheels and lots of other things, some to be paid for and others that are free.
The advice given is ….. do not wait until we are old and cannot work out what to do ….. get things ready now!!!
Candy Wright. From HELP. She said everyone should prepare for the future. If only one of you drive, get your partner to drive; both of you should be doing all the paper work, like banking and computer work. Maybe plan your funeral, pay for it in advance or make sure you have the money put aside for it. Look at how you live, and make sure you move if you have to. Maybe there are too many stairs for you to climb when you get older, or you are too far away from the shops, just think about all this NOW, not in the future. Also prepare an info package for your next of kin, with all your information on it, especially any medical problems and medication that you are on. They will need to know what pensions you have, your passwords for your computer and maybe bank accounts. Put phone numbers down for them, and where you keep your house keys. Everyone should carry their SIP card with them at all times; if your partner is older than you, you may be on his SIP card and if they pass, you will have to apply for your own. Maybe look at the possibility of a Living Will; you will need to go to a Notary for this.
We were told that there are only 4 Social Workers in our areas with other Social Services departments in certain towns. Javea have a protection scheme for the elderly in place, so they need to know where everyone lives etc. The other towns do not have this service yet.
We also had other speakers with Candy translating for us. Social Resources and Difficulties arising in Procedures to Obtain them, Social Services Coordinator and Jana Gonzalez, Social Worker and Dependence Technician at Teulada Town Hall, and Healthcare Credentials, Ruben San Pable Mascarell, Healthcare Credentials Technician Pepa Clorrage Puigcerver, SIP Technicikan, Departament de Salut de Denia.
This was a very difficult time to take notes as so many people were talking at once. They did talk about a Centre for elderly people, Home help, a Public Centre where you have to pay and Day Centres where it is free. You will most like have to pay for carers in your own home, unless you have no money. To receive any help you have to be on the Padron. The Town halls will help with so many problems, they really want people to be able to stay in their own homes, with Meals on Wheels and home-helps where needed. They can get help with washing, shopping and cooking sometimes. The only thing is, they must be able to open the door for the carers; if not they will not come. Meals on wheels come from Monday to Friday and on Fridays they leave food for the weekend. Only Spanish food. The town hall will pay for most of Meals on Wheels, but the person who needs it will most likely have to pay 2.70€ a day for this service.
A very important thing is that UK residents who have lived here for more than 10 years can apply for a pension if they have no income; it can be up to 350€ a Month. You can apply in your Town hall for this. All information is on www.inclusio.gva.es Information is in Spanish, but you can use Google translate.
Go to Social Services to apply for any of this, or your Town Hall will be able to help, but make sure you or someone can speak Spanish. They said if an Ambulance tries to take you home in the middle of the night and there is no one at home to help you, make sure you get them to take you back to the hospital.
If you need a Blue Badge for parking, you need to go to your Town Hall and fill out lots of forms after getting a letter from your doctor; then it will take over a year before you hear about an appointment for you to go to Alicante; even this might not work. You can only do this if you are a Resident, and you will be in front of a tribunal for the last meeting, then have to wait again. At the moment it can take up to 2 years before you get your badge.
Please remember to get a SIP card. If you do not have one and have to go into hospital you can go to the Office in the hospital to meet with Ruben who will help you to apply for a short or long use SIP card. Carry your cards with you at all times. If you do not have a card you may be asked to pay up front, but they will help you get an emergency card if needed. If you need a SIP card you will have to make an appointment in Denia to get it.
They also talked about people who are at work, but I do not think I have to report on this.
I hope this has been of some use to you all,
Report given by Rona Hurst (U3A Support group)