‘Extreme concerns’ about patient safety as petrol shortage stops NHS staff getting to work

DOCTORS and care workers are unable to get to work because of fuel shortages and are “extremely concerned” about their patients.

Campaign group EveryDoctor warned many NHS staff could not get in for their shifts on Monday after panicked Brits cleaned out petrol stations over the weekend.

NHS staff say they are worried patient care will suffer if staff can't get to work because they have run out of petrol


NHS staff say they are worried patient care will suffer if staff can’t get to work because they have run out of petrolCredit: Alamy

London Mayor Sadiq Khan slammed the “shambolic” situation as unions called for key workers to get priority access to pumps.

There is not an actual fuel shortage but the UK does not have enough lorry drivers to refill the pumps as quickly as they are running dry after a spike in demand for petrol and diesel since Thursday.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association, said: “As pumps run dry there is a real risk that NHS staff won’t be able to do their jobs and provide vital services and care to people who urgently need it.

“Healthcare and essential workers must be given priority access to fuel.”

EveryDoctor founder, Dr Julia Patterson, added: “I am hearing from many today who have spent the weekend unsuccessfully trying to find petrol.

“Doctors and other healthcare workers cannot care for patients if they cannot get to work.”

Sadiq Khan said: “Our emergency services and our buses have enough and they have some in reserve, but we are hearing stories about care workers, people who work in hospitals, not being able to fuel up.”

Emergency services began feeling the fuel chaos at the weekend when reports emerged of ambulances struggling to refuel and crashing into queueing traffic when on blue lights.

A Sainsbury’s garage in Sevenoaks, Kent, even resorted to strictly limiting fuel to only key workers today, requiring ID before letting people use the pumps.

Shortages have thankfully not hit drug supplies, with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society reassuring patients “pharmacies are still getting deliveries of medicines”.

But there are fears for staff numbers if medics can’t fill up soon.

One hospital doctor in Bedfordshire said: “We had an emergency discussion this morning. 

“Two consultants in our department are out and can’t get to work. Two others on reserve. 

“All four petrol stations within four miles of our hospital are closed with no fuel.”

Industry chiefs and ministers hope the chaos will burn itself out within the next few days when most people will have filled up and garages can get restocked.

Ambulance crashes into cars queuing for petrol as paramedic tries to weave through traffic while rushing to emergency

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