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‘Nightmare’ fuel shortages hit care of vulnerable patients

Community and mental health service providers have warned the ongoing fuel crisis and other traffic disruption is starting to impact the care of vulnerable patients.

Warnings about a HGV drivers shortage have prompted the panic-buying of fuel, with many petrol stations running out or heavily congested.

Julia Winkless, a senior social worker and approved mental health professional in Suffolk, told HSJ clinical visits had to be cancelled as people were unable to get to work. 

Ms Winkless said: “We work over a very rural area, none of these petrol stations where [staff] live have got any fuel and we don’t know when there is going to be deliveries. Today, there were four mental capacity assessments cancelled.”

There is also disruption to patient transport. A senior source at a West Midlands patient transport provider which often conveys people to mental health services told HSJ: “It’s been a bit of a nightmare in all honesty. We turned down a request this morning for a patient going to London because of the fuel and because of the [climate protesters disrupting motorways]… ultimately those patients are either at home and distressed carrying a big risk in the community or [accident and emergency] departments which [are not] the right settings.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 28 September 2021


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