THE boss of a home care provider has issued a plea for urgent action to keep carers and NHS workers on the road as the petrol crisis continues.

And Ashwell Home Care Services boss Philip Ashwell has warned there could be some "life and death" situations if the issues continue this week.

Mr Ashwell said his 25 carers from the Malvern-based service had been reporting issues getting fuel all weekend, and said he expected it will be the same for other carers and emergency service workers across the county.

"We have to be doing everything we can to prioritise them now," he said.

"We have spoken a lot about key workers in the past 18 months, I understand that, and everybody's job is important. We are a mobile workforce, people need to fill up for their jobs.

"But this panic buying is really having an impact on domiciliary care.

"If stations are saying they won't have deliveries for days, someone needs to be co-ordinating a plan.

"Anyone who can work from home, should be working from home.

"Maybe you could have a petrol station just for NHS, carers and key workers, or letting them go to the front of the queue (by showing ID).

"If a carer misses an appointment - whether because they don't have fuel in their car or they are stuck in a queue waiting at a station - that could mean someone reliant on medication doesn't get it, or an ambulance isn't called when it was needed.

"At the moment we will divert someone to cover that appointment, but if they are five miles away that is using their fuel, meaning they could run out.

"I don't know how long this is going to last but we need help to get through this now. Let's hope the situation gets better at petrol stations."

Robin Walker said: "Clearly if this was going on for a few days, we would prioritise key workers.

"If we need to, we do have lists of key workers from the Covid crisis if needed. But I'm not aware it is being looked at, at the moment.

"I know the government has taken various steps (including suspending competition law).

"One of the things the government has looked at is using the Army, but I can understand why that is seen as a last resort as that would take a vehicle out of use, that might be needed for other emergency uses.

"Unfortunately it is human behaviour, if they hear about it, people do panic buy which is the worst thing.

"There is plenty of fuel in the country, it is just getting it to the stations.

"The other issue is as soon as a station has fuel everyone goes to fill up.

"The advice would be for those who don't have to use their car for a little bit, come back and fill up when the situation has improved."