General practice teams and other healthcare workers should have priority access to fuel amid a growing crisis in supply and closed petrol station forecourts, the BMA has urged.
Staff need to reach practices, and GPs need to visit some patients at home and need fuel supplies to do so, stressed Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair.
He said: ‘Emergency and essential workers rely on fuel both to travel to work and for their work itself – whether this is to get to hospitals, practices and other healthcare settings, or for ambulances to reach people in urgent need of care and GPs to visit very ill patients at home.
‘Everyone will have their own reasons for needing to fill up, but 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.
‘While the Government has said it is putting plans in place to alleviate the shortage of HGV drivers to transport fuel, the results of this won’t be immediate. Healthcare and essential workers must therefore be given priority access to fuel so they can continue their crucial work and guarantee care to patients.’
Up to 90% of petrol stations are thought to have run dry.
Reports that the army may be brought in to help ensure fuel supplies for essential services, such as the NHS, have been denied, as the public have been urged to stop panic buying.