Rising fuel costs cause 'nightmare' for carers

The rising cost of fuel is creating a nightmare for carers, Prema Fairburn-Dorai has said

The rising cost of fuel is creating a nightmare for carers, Prema Fairburn-Dorai has said. Ms Fairburn-Dorai is the director of Suffolk-based home care provider, Primary Homecare. - Credit: PA / Sarah Lucy Brown

Fuel prices are expected to reach £2 per litre this summer – but social care cannot keep up and people are leaving their jobs because of extra travel costs, says a Suffolk homecare director. 

Prices have been steadily rising for months, and are forcing many care workers to search for alternative means of employment, explained Prema Fairburn-Dorai, director of Primary Homecare. 

According to her, rising fuel costs are proving “a nightmare".

She said: “We really tried to see what more we could offer [care workers] for their mileage costs, but we've now pushed ourselves to the limit and we can't do anymore. 

“They're still really having a problem, especially with domiciliary care. It's a nightmare. 

“Workers can’t come into work, and they’re leaving. You can understand why they’re looking for jobs where they don’t have to travel.” 

The Suffolk-based service offers care to adults in their own home. This includes those with dementia, end of life care, physical or mental health difficulties, and many other complex medical requirements. 

Ms Fairburn-Dorai continued: “There is a big backlog of people who are waiting for care packages, and we can’t shift it because we don’t have the staff.  

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“But what will happen to those people?  

“We go to all these meetings with the NHS and the local authority. We try to work together to see if there is any way that we can improve things, but we just can’t.  

“Everyone is a little bit tight for money, because the budget from the government is just so poor, so as much as they want to help, they can’t because they don’t have the cash.” 

As more and more care workers leave social care, the pressure increases for those who remain. 

As they try to cope with the increased responsibility, Ms Fairburn-Dorai explained, the scope for human error increases. 

“So, patient safety does come into this, too. 

“We need some kind of assistance, whether it is in the form of a grant to help with the rise in fuel prices, to encourage the people who did think about working in social care to come back, because there will be some help with their travel costs.”