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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Key workers struggling to travel amid fuel crisis


Panic buying at petrol stations has led to some key workers struggling to get the fuel they need to travel to their work.

The surge in demand for fuel came after fears lorry driver shortages would hit supplies of petrol and diesel.

Doctors and unions representing teachers and carers have called for key workers to get priority at the pumps.

One hospice in Oldham tweeted that it was in “urgent need” of petrol for its cars.

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Rosemary Botting, who runs Karosel Care and Domestic Services in west Sussex, told the BBC that if two of her carers couldn’t find a gas station before their next shift, they would be unable to care for “vulnerable” service users.

Ms Botting stated that if the current crisis is not resolved by next week, her care company will be in violation of its 12 customers’ safeguarding guidelines.

“We will endanger our service users,” she said. “We would be unable to send a caregiver out to someone.”

Ms Botting stated that her staff assisted people living in rural areas throughout west Sussex, which required driving – and a tank full of fuel.

She claimed that one of her caregivers was half an hour late to her first call in due to traffic caused by queues at gas stations, which meant that her first patient, who cannot get out of bed unaided, remained in bed until she arrived.

“I need to notify all of the other service users that their caregiver is running a half-hour late. We take pride in being punctual “She stated.

“We made it through Covid. There was not a single user in our care who had Covid. I do this job because I am concerned. It’s all a bit of a nightmare right now.”

Colin McDonald, an orthopaedic registrar at a district general hospital in the East Midlands, told the BBC that if fuel supply issues persisted and he was unable to travel to work, patient surgeries at the start of his shifts could be delayed, causing his fracture clinics in the afternoon to be delayed.

“This could result in cancellations,” he warned. “If patients live a long distance away from the clinic, they may be unable to enter, and staff may be unable to enter.”

Mr McDonald stated that he was concerned about not being able to get fuel on Sunday, but that he was able to purchase some petrol that had been set aside for key workers at a petrol station on Monday.

“Seeing people fill up multiple jerry cans of gas – I don’t understand their mentality,” he said.

“It’s very difficult for me to understand. It appears to be very selfish… they are only concerned with themselves and do not take into account the needs of others or key workers.”

‘Ridiculous’ prices

Andrew Wagstaff, a civil servant from Nuneaton, Warwickshire, set out at 04:45 BST to find fuel for his 57-mile commute to work.

He finally got fuel at Watford Gap service station after discovering that all of the petrol stations in his area were closed.

However, he stated that diesel prices had been raised to 157.9p per litre, which he described as “ridiculous.”

“It cost me £65 to fill three-quarters of a tank,” he explained. “I play an important role. It’s infuriating that people who aren’t essential workers are panicking for no apparent reason.”

According to the Confederation of Passenger Transport, most bus and coach services have not been impacted by the fuel supply issues.

Meanwhile, the Petrol Retailers Association, which represents 5,500 of the UK’s 8,000 filling stations, reported that there is some evidence that the number of cars visiting petrol stations is beginning to level off.

It said the data was anecdotal, but that some forecourts that saw a 500% increase in traffic on Saturday are now only about 40% busier than usual.

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