Cardiologists perform a procedure on a patient at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England on March 17, 2021.
Joe Giddens | PA pictures | Getty Images
Doctors and health care workers in the UK could be accommodated in hotels to ensure they can go to work as the UK gasoline crisis continues.
British motorists have panicked their fuel purchases for the past week as a major shortage of truck drivers impacted shipments of gasoline and other goods across the country. The situation resulted in doctors and other key personnel being given priority access to fuel earlier this week.
Saffron Cordery, deputy general manager of NHS Providers – a health services affiliate within the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) – told CNBC in an email that workers were struggling to refuel their vehicles and get to work despite ministers Government assured the public that supply is starting to stabilize.
“This is a particular problem for NHS workers who provide services in the community and for remote wards,” she said Thursday. “Trusts will work with national NHS teams and their local partners to ensure that disruption for patients is minimized, including through changes in work patterns for community staff and, if necessary, through accommodation in local hotels.”
NHS hospitals and some other health services in England are run by more than 200 geographically designated trusts run by directors.
“Trust Leaders tell us that ambulance fuel supplies will not be cut. But reports that non-emergency patient transport services are having problems accessing fuel and the knock-on effects this could have on vulnerable patients are worrying, ”added Cordery.
Meanwhile, Matthew Taylor, chairman of the board of directors of the NHS Confederation – an affiliate for the health system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – urged the government to encourage people not to panic about buying fuel, which he believes could affect patient care .
“The NHS has a number of emergency measures they can take on-site if there are problems with the hospital, usually in very bad weather,” Taylor said via email on Thursday.
“However, many health and care workers across the country rely on their cars to get to work in society.”
A government spokesman told CNBC Thursday that “immediate action” had been taken to increase the number of delivery drivers and ease pressure on gas stations.
“We recognize the challenges the industry is facing and we streamlined the testing process in July to increase the number of drivers. We have also introduced short-term visas for trucks [heavy goods vehicle] Drivers and measures to prioritize fuel deliveries to the areas most in need, “they said.
“It is important to emphasize that there is no shortage of fuel in the UK and that people should keep buying fuel as usual.”
UK government ministers have taken some steps in the past few days to mitigate the effects of the petrol shortage which has left large parts of petrol stations across the country running out of fuel. These measures include temporary visas for truck drivers, suspending competition laws for the fuel industry, and even mobilizing the army to conduct fuel deliveries.
Taylor, of the NHS Confederation, told CNBC on Thursday that two-thirds of its members had already said before the fuel crisis that the understaffing is jeopardizing patient care and safety – and that fuel crisis could add to some of the stresses caused by the Covid crisis. 19 pandemic.
“Any disruption caused by the ‘gasoline panic’ could worsen this and affect the delivery of vital supplies,” he said. “With the NHS preparing for what is likely to be a very busy winter, the situation is incredibly worrying.”
Throughout the pandemic, NHS services built a large backlog of patients waiting to be treated or treated by specialists as lockdowns, isolation of health workers and doctors being transferred to Covid wards disrupted normal operations .
Earlier this month, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that his administration would raise taxes from April to provide the NHS with additional funding to help it tackle the waiting list build-up.