DomCare and the Availability of Fuel

With over 10,000 home care providers in the UK, anything that impacts the availability of the care workers is a real problem.

There’s approximately 957,000 people in the UK receiving care at home support.

Care Workers Being Refused Fuel at Petrol Stations

This week, we’ve read of instances where home care/domiciliary care workers have been refused fuel when on their care run to be told “they’re not an essential or emergency worker”. Some petrol stations in the UK are rationing fuel on a needs-basis, but it is unclear what criteria is being used to implement this. Whilst it's true; a care worker is unlikely to be turning up for fuel in an ambulance sporting a blue light, does it really make the work they’re doing any less important?

The National Audit Office reports that there’s approximately 957,000 (Apr 2021) people in the UK receiving care at home support. Understandably these people will have varying levels of needs and independence, but one thing remains true – they’re receiving care because they need it.

Petrol Stations Running Dry

With shortages of available HGV drivers for fuel delivery being compounded by the general public panic buying fuel, the media has reported wide-spread instances of petrol stations running dry, closing, capping transactions, or just refusing to sell to some people.

But what does this mean for the near 1 million people who depend on mobile carers to get to their homes to provide essential care services? The impact is huge and sadly, one that directly impacts the welfare of people’s lives. We’ve seen across social media that some care business are having to resort to contingency plans in some areas meaning care can only be fulfilled based on risk assessment where those with the highest needs or the highest risk are prioritised.

Additional Pressures of Re-Prioritising Care
Care companies are amongst some of the most adaptable and resilient businesses during adversity and will do everything they can to ensure service users’ needs are met, but even the best contingency plans will be scuppered if there’s simply no fuel available to carers to reach the service users in their community.

Sadly, this doesn’t appear to be recognised by everyone, especially by those who refuse to sell fuel to carers who desperately need it to be able to reach their service users.

However, the truth is that there could be someone laying in bed, unable to get up to go to the toilet or unable to reach their medication by themselves. Someone who relies on that care worker turning up on time to help them out of bed or to assist in administration of medication. Care workers need to be able to get around their community in order to provide the care that they’re so deeply passionate about.

Some communities are sparsely populated and travel by foot is not always an option, so access to a car and the availability of fuel is absolutely essential.

The impacts reach further though. The care companies themselves, whilst resilient, are put under an enormous amount of additional pressure to reprioritise care calls, reorganise runs and to contact each and every service user or their next of kin to inform them of any changes to care schedules caused by the lack of carer availability from fuel shortages. This is the ugly truth that few people outside of the care industry ever see or hear about.

Are You a Carer or Dom Care Agency?

Are you a care worker or dom care agency and have a view on this article? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch.
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