Leaders at Bath & North East Somerset Council have issued a warning to residents over the impact on key services caused by a shortage of HGV drivers and an increase in Covid cases.
The local authority has advised of potential disruption to services such as waste and recycling collections, which could go on for some months particularly with seasonal demand increasing in the run-up to, and after Christmas.
The council says pressures are also mounting on social care as demand grows across both residential and home care combined with difficulties in recruiting staff.
Covid-19 infection rates have increased over the last few weeks and the NHS is experiencing extra demands on their services.
Council leader, Councillor Kevin Guy 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, Bath & North East Somerset Council 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:
- Practicing self-care with keeping a medicine cupboard at home well-stocked with the essentials,
- Seeking advice from pharmacies at first sign of illness, thinking 111 First – visiting NHS 111 online (as a preference to calling 111) for health advice or to get a booked appointment, instead of going directly to A&E when it’s not life threatening.
- Using local health and care services appropriately; knowing where to go for help, including GP extended hours and use of minor injury units and walk-in centres.
- Continuing to follow all government and healthcare advice and guidance in relation to Coronavirus, including social distancing, hand hygiene, face coverings and self-isolation.
- Following all visitor guidance in hospitals and healthcare settings to reduce footfall where possible and reduce the spread of infection.
- Going to A&E, or calling 999 if you do have a life-threatening emergency.