Carers getting up at 1am and riding bikes to clients amid fuel queues
- Credit: Denise Bradley
Care providers are becoming increasingly concerned about their ability to deliver vital services due to fuel panic-buying, with staff getting up at 1am and riding bikes to reach those in need.
The current demand for fuel is making it difficult for care staff to travel to clients in the region, with long queues and congestion on the county's roads.
Clients living in rural areas are expected to be most affected, as limited public transport makes them harder to reach.
Cavell Healthcare provides home care across Norfolk.
Matt Drakeford, care coordinator for Cavell healthcare, said: "It has been a shock to the system. Some of our carers have completely run out of fuel and have been unable to get to their calls. We are also experiencing carers being delayed in getting to their appointments.
"We've managed to work around it and ensure that every client has been visited. However, the situation is very close to some clients being unable to receive care.
"We've been left to deal with the situation ourselves mostly and not had much support from local authorities yet.
"We've contacted petrol stations to see if they'd reserve fuel for care workers, and a select few have done so."
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Carers have gone above and beyond to ensure no-one is left without.
Elijah Adeyemi, managing director of Norwich-based Norvic Healthcare, said: "We had one carer get up at 1am in order to get to a petrol station without having to queue. Another has been using their push-bike to get to clients.
"We employ over 100 staff across Norfolk and Suffolk and many are struggling to get fuel.
"We've had staff waiting two, three hours queueing to fill up their cars, which has made them delayed in getting to appointments. We have had no appointments missed so far but we concerned about how the situation will develop over the rest of the week.
"A number of our clients receive end-of-life care in remote locations across Norfolk, and these patients are particularly vulnerable and at risk due to the current challenges.
"We've had contact from Norfolk County Council and the NHS who have offered support, and we have also been calling petrol stations in advance to see who has fuel."