Health and care workers given priority in Ashfield as fuel crisis rages on
Heath and social care workers have been given top priority as beleaguered petrol stations in Ashfield battle through the fuel crisis.
Such has been the demand for fuel that most garage forecourts in the district have had to close at some point over the past week.
But an innovative agreement at the RP Royal Garage, in Sutton Road, Huthwaite, means that staff in the health and social care sectors will not miss out.
For boss Sivapalan Krishanand, known as Kris, is offering dedicated, exclusive time slots to them, and all NHS staff, between 6am and 7am and from 9.30pm to 10.30 pm, every day until the crisis dies down.
The deal has been struck by the pioneering home-care provider, Your Home Care, which is based in Mansfield Woodhouse.
Co-founder Scott Marsh said: “We have been disappointed with national operators being slow to help health and social care workers.
"They are essential workers whose jobs make so much difference to people’s lives.
"Kris has stepped up to the mark, and we are so grateful to him for doing this.
"He understands the issues and has shown tremendous spirit in getting this sorted for people in our communities.”
Workers will need to show a valid ID to take advantage of the garage’s offer. But Kris said: “I am pleased to be able to help. Home-care workers need to get to work and so this is our small way of helping out.”
Meanwhile, all petrol stations in Ashfield are hoping the worst is over after a hectic week trying to cope with the fuel crisis.
“I have never known anything like this before,” gasped Leo Willmott, the manager of the Essar Eastfield Service Station, in Sutton.
"We have had long queues of vehicles to the end of the road. Some of the drivers have tried to fill up with the wrong kind of fuel, but most of them have been all right. They have kept calm.
"My pumps are closed at the moment, but I am hoping for a delivery tonight.”
The BP Service Station on Mansfield Road, Skegby, also ran out of fuel, on Monday morning, after days of long queues.
Panic-buying has helped to swell the queues, with drivers worried about running out of petrol.
But there have been no reports of any serious trouble in Ashfield, even though many drivers have been forced to wait for up to an hour as the pumps were emptied almost as soon as they were re-stocked.
It was a similar story in neighbouring Mansfield, where queues stretching down the street were reported at the BP Service Station on Clipstone Road in Forest Town. Supervisor Sumidh Don said they had only 500 litres of fuel left – and that was being saved for the emergency services. He was praying for a fresh delivery.
The surge in demand was triggered by fears that a desperate shortage of lorry-drivers across the country would hit fuel supply.
The government is offering temporary visas to woo back foreign drivers, and has suspended competition-law restrictions on oil companies. The Army might also be deployed to ease the crisis.
But the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce, which covers Ashfield, warned that without further action, the country “faced the real prospect of serious damage to our economy”.