Critical frontline workers report being unable to get fuel amid panic buying
PANIC buying has meant frontline health and social care workers are now unable to buy fuel.
Increasing numbers of staff in hospitals and acute care settings, along with workers delivering care to vulnerable people in their homes, are reporting difficulties filling up.
Pam O’Shea, deputy director of nursing at NHS Dorset CCG, said: “We would ask people to be mindful of how their actions by panic buying fuel affect our frontline health and social care staff who we depend on to be able to travel to deliver care to the sick, vulnerable and dying people within our communities.”
The warning comes as emergency services, health organisations and local authorities across Dorset met yesterday (Monday) to discuss the issue, which has been affecting the whole country.
BCP Council leader Cllr Drew Mellor said: “There is a very serious risk now to ensuring vulnerable people are able to get the vital care they need. Critical social care workers protecting adults and children need fuel to get around and I would strongly urge the public to think twice before joining a petrol station queue.”
Cllr Laura Miller, portfolio holder for adult social care and health, said: “Please just take what you need. We can get through this, but it means being thoughtful. Remember that someone’s elderly relative is sitting on their own waiting for their carer to come.”
The problem comes on top of pressure that is already on critical services due to staff absences caused by the pandemic.
After being overrun by customers since last Friday, many petrol stations across Christchurch and the New Forest have now closed.
Dorset Police also received reports of blocked roads caused by long queues at filling stations.
In New Milton, firefighters were delayed by queuing at a petrol station as they responded to a call to help paramedics gain entry to a property to treat a patient on Saturday morning.
Although the operation was successfully carried out, a post on the station's Twitter account afterwards said: "This was an unnecessary hold up!"
The chaotic scenes come after a shortage of HGV drivers forced some fuel retailers to shut their pumps and ration sales, with Esso, BP and Tesco forecourts all affected by petrol deliveries.