The recent fuel shortage in the UK has compromised care for patients, the RCN have said.
Many nurses have been unable to get to their shifts due to a lack of fuel for their cars. This has led to calls for nurses and other healthcare staff to be classed as priority workers, allowing them to receive access to fuel. However, others say that such a scheme would be difficult to administer and hard to get running.
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‘Nursing staff do valuable work, often travelling long distances to get to work or see their patients in the community. Health and care services, already struggling with widespread staffing shortages, cannot afford to lose any more staff because they’re unable to travel,’ said RCN England Director Patricia Marquis.
Government officials say the latest data from industry suggests that about 800 petrol stations are out of stock of at least one type of fuel — but this is down from 1,700 stations at the height of the crisis. The Petrol Retailers Association, which represents independent garages, said 37% of its forecourts had reported being dry.
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‘We already know some nursing staff are warning their employers they may not be able to attend tomorrow to ensure shifts can be safely staffed,’ added Ms Marquis.
‘In light of these supply problems, health and care workers need to be a priority or patient care will be compromised.’