Brexit has impacted the UK in multiple ways, from increasing costs for businesses to problems in the supply chain and other logistics-related issues. It also affected the workforce as many EU drivers had to move back to their countries and no longer be employed as a driver in the UK. At the same time, Covid has affected the workforce across the globe, affecting several markets.
Unfortunately, the healthcare industry is facing delivery challenges due to the increase in demand that the current lorry drivers are unable to meet. And the question arises: will the HGV crisis in the UK affect healthcare and the quality of service provided to patients? Keep on reading to find the answer to this question.
What is the HGV crisis in the UK?
The HGV or heavy goods vehicles crisis is affecting several industries in the UK. Experts are still studying the reasons behind this shortage, but they mostly attribute it to Covid and Brexit.
The lack of qualified drivers in the UK has left several industries without full access to fuel, meaning a failure to deliver essential goods to food stores, and even affected crucial medical devices and equipment delivery.
Many of these drivers weren’t British citizens and eventually moved back to their countries due to several factors. Here are some of the reasons that caused the HGV crisis
European drivers went home due to travel restrictions and several businesses shutting down. Since they were unable to live in the UK, they left their positions unfulfilled, even when the economy started to pick up.
The average age of HGV drivers is 55, and due to prolonged periods of inactivity, most of these drivers chose to retire or find jobs in less demanding sectors. Drivers of 25 years old or younger represent only 1% of the number of HGV drivers, and most of them chose to pursue other jobs.
The Covid situation also led to a backlog in testing new drivers, so new drivers weren’t able to get their licences to fill in positions in the supply chain.
The uncertainty related to exiting the EU prompted many drivers to go home because they were unsure of what would follow.
How is the HGV crisis affecting healthcare?
Combined with the shortage of qualified drivers, there was an increase in demand for medical services, medical equipment, and devices. But manufacturers were unable to fulfil this increasing demand because there were no drivers to deliver raw materials, components needed for manufacturing, or end products requested by doctors.
As the number of Covid cases increased, the NHS was requesting more medical supplies and equipment to offer a better healthcare service. Unfortunately, suppliers were left with no option but not to respond to all demand requests and to choose who to respond to.
How to solve the HGV crisis?
There are several suggested solutions to overcome the current consequences of the HGV crisis. Most of these solutions are industry-driven, while others involve pressuring the government to take action.
Companies are currently using smaller vans to deliver goods to areas that are dealing with the greatest needs.
Healthcare organisations are working with the government to facilitate the process of testing and licensing new drivers. (Driver medicals may be required for drivers of specific class of vehicle or those who fall within certain age brackets)
Industry leaders are working with the UK government to improve the work environment, improve pay, and focus on diversity to help prompt the ageing workforce.
Several factors have contributed to the HGV crisis in the UK. Unfortunately, it’s affected every industry, including healthcare. However, the industry and government are currently taking steps to overcome this problem and make sure that medical supplies and equipment reach those in greatest need until this shortage is overcome.
For drivers who require a HGV medical to prove their fitness to drive, D4Drivers can quickly sort your driver medical to get you back or keep you on the road.