27 Sep 2021
by Carole Broughton

Homecare Association calls for urgent priority access to fuel

The Homecare Association is calling for urgent prioritisation of homecare and other essential workers on garage forecourts, as petrol supplies run dry following panic buying, in the wake of concerns about a shortage of lorry drivers.

A weekend of chaos saw homecare workers caught in queues, being late for calls, struggle to buy petrol and turned down as essential workers as garages brought in their own rationing.

Jane Townson, chief executive of the Homecare Association, has been engaged in urgent talks with senior officials at the Department of Health and Social Care, local government representatives and health policymakers throughout the weekend, to find a solution.

Jane said: “Homecare delivery remains disrupted by difficulties obtaining fuel and traffic jams. Despite what the likes of the Automobile Association (AA) have said, there is only patchy prioritisation of essential workers, including homecare workers on garage forecourts. 

“In previous fuel strikes, local authorities have been able to arrange for scarce fuel to be prioritised for essential users. There is a question whether this needs authority from central government, under civil contingencies legislation, to address the current problem. We call for this issue to be resolved urgently, as homecare workers need a fast solution so they can get to people who rely on their vital help.”

“The lack of communication from government is not helping.”

“We are calling on the government to:

1) declare there is an issue so that local authorities can invoke their civil contingency plans;

2) make clear to fuel retail companies and the public that homecare and other workers must be prioritised;

3) provide fuel vouchers for homecare and other essential workers so that their eligibility for fuel is clear; and

4) communicate swiftly to the nation that priority must be given to essential workers and panic buying creates risks to the health and wellbeing of older and disabled people."  

 

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