Stark warning that services in B&NES are under pressure because of driver shortage and rise in COVID cases

Council leaders have today issued a stark warning about the impact on key Bath & North East Somerset services caused by a national shortage of HGV drivers and the increase in COVID cases.

The council is facing challenges and is warning residents about potential disruption – such as to waste and recycling collections – which could go on for some months, particularly with seasonal demand increasing in the run-up to, and after Christmas.

Pressures are also mounting on social care as demand grows across both residential and home care combined with difficulties in recruiting staff.

COVID rates increased over the last few weeks and the NHS is experiencing demands for their services.

B&NES Council leader Kevin Guy, pictured, said: “The council’s capacity in key services including care and waste collection is under ongoing pressure after 19-months of COVID response. This coupled with external pressures in the economy including driver shortages is creating a huge challenge for us.

‘It is important that our residents understand we are working to mitigate the challenges we face but they can expect to see some service disruption in the coming months.

“We are still coping with the impact of COVID and we are also dealing with external supply chain pressures. I am asking residents and business to work with us to help protect services as much as possible.”

Will Godfrey, the council’s chief executive, said: “We will continue to prioritise services for our most vulnerable residents but it is important people are aware, as we head into winter, of the strain the council, like many organisations, is under.”

The NHS is calling on people to prepare for winter and play their part by using local health and care services appropriately and knowing where to go for help, including GP extended hours and use of minor injury units and walk-in centres.

People are also asked to continue to follow all government and healthcare advice and guidance in relation to coronavirus, including social distancing, hand hygiene, face coverings and self-isolation.