CONCERNS have been raised about care workers who do not speak enough English to offer an adequate standard of care.

King’s College London has said that 20 per cent of all care workers in the UK are migrant workers.

Dr Shereen Hussein, scientific adviser to the Department of Health, has said that agencies should ensure people recruited as carers can speak English before placing them in vulnerable people’s homes.

It is feared that language barriers could lead to bad care, neglect, or even abuse.

It has also been suggested that elderly people from minority ethnic backgrounds may encounter language barriers if their standard of English is not good enough to communicate with their care workers.

Lancashire County Council said it was aware of the issue, but had not experienced any significant problems. 

A spokesman said: “While local homecare providers will employ some carers who are of non-UK origin, there have been no formal concerns raised over their language skills.

“However, we continuously monitor the standard of homecare across the county, and communication is one of the issues we would take into account.

“If people who use homecare services do not have English as a first language, we include that as part of their social care assessment and support plan, and make sure their homecare agency has carer workers who can talk to them.

And, for example, in areas with a significant Asian population, agencies tend to employ carer workers from the relevant community who have the appropriate language skills.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council was unable to comment on the issue.

But Mohammed Khan, Blackburn Council’s executive member for the Health and Adult Social Care, said: “I think it’s very important for people to be able to understand each other. Language is very important on both sides.”