Emergency measures must be put in place to ensure that social care staff get fuel for their cars so that they can continue to provide vital support to disabled and older people, care leaders say.
ADASS, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, is hearing reports from around England of care staff struggling to find fuel or having to spend hours queuing to fill up when they should be supporting people in the community or in care settings.
The association is calling for measures to guarantee access to fuel for care staff – perhaps with designated protected slots at filling stations – and is asking other drivers to think twice about topping up their tanks and limit car use while current shortages persist.
Stephen Chandler, ADASS president, said: ‘Care staff must be able to do their jobs. They provide essential support to people to eat and drink, wash, go to bed and get up and out to work and other activities – and to take medication and relieve pain.
‘The government must do all it can to guarantee adequate fuel supplies at filling stations, but the problems being experienced by care staff show that special steps are needed to help them. The public also has a responsibility not to make their difficulties any worse.’
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said it has listened to the sector and prioritised the adult social care workforce, recognising their tireless commitment and dedication during the pandemic.
‘We are committed to the delivery of world-leading social care and we are giving £5.4 billion for the sector, including £500 million to develop the workforce, to put in place comprehensive reforms that are sustainable and fit for the future.
‘To support the sector through this global pandemic we have provided over £2 billion in specific funding for adult social care, in addition to more than £6bn that has been made available to local authorities to address pressures on their services.
‘Over 90% of care home staff have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine ahead of the November 11 deadline and we encourage even more staff to get vaccinated to protect their colleagues and those they care for.’
Photo Credit – Alex Motoc