The recent panic at the pumps which has caused chaos on the daily commute is set to hit the health sector, reports the Financial Times. Concerns regarding shortages have caused a spike in demand, and supply is struggling to keep pace. With over 8,000 UK petrol stations struggling to meet customer requirements, medical workers have raised concerns regarding the impact on the provision of medical supplies to hospitals, and the inevitable pressure on an already squeezed ambulance service.
In an effort to deal with the crisis, Boris Johnson has announced that the military is on standby to assist. With the time taken to train an HGV driver standing at 8 weeks, it seems there is going to be no quick fix to the current driver shortage. A relaxation of visa rules in an effort to attract foreign HGV drivers have already been implemented, given the significant impact on labour supply as a result of Brexit, although the short-term nature of this, coupled
with the expiration of these visas on Christmas eve has met with significant criticism.
This is a further challenge to an already stretched NHS with waiting lists for treatment running to approx. 5 million patients. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British medical association’s ruling council, urged that priority should be given to essential services. He warned, “as pumps run dry there is a real risk that NHS staff won’t be able to do their jobs … healthcare and essential
workers must be given priority access to fuel”.
Written by Olive Chinhengo Research compiled by Billy Ryan