Deliveries of over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions to pharmacies are being disrupted due to a lack of van drivers, according to reports.
Pharmacy bosses have reportedly told the Sunday Telegraph they are facing disruption to deliveries up to ‘three times a week’.
And, according to the paper, pharmacists warn the issue could get worse due to an increase in demand in winter.
It comes amid a shortage of HGV drivers in the UK, which has sparked fears of empty shelves this Christmas and forced a number of petrol stations to close due to difficulties getting fuel to the pumps.
Martin Hewitson, who runs an independent pharmacy in Dorset and is a former board member of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), is one of ‘multiple’ pharmacies to have raised issue about the concerns of medicine supplies.
He told The Telegraph: ‘It’s not happening every day, but once, twice, three times a week we’re having disruption to wholesale deliveries.
Pharmacy bosses have reportedly told the Sunday Telegraph they are facing disruption to deliveries up to ‘three times a week’
According to the paper, pharmacists warn the issue, which they say is caused by a shortage of van drivers (pictured: Library image) could get worse due to an increase in demand in winter
Martin Hewitson (pictured), who runs an independent pharmacy in Dorset and is a former board member of the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), is one of ‘multiple’ pharmacies to have raised issue about the concerns of medicine supplies
‘Medicines which we were expecting end up not arriving, often with no explanation.’
Along with prescriptions, disruption has also reportedly affected supplies of over-the-counter medications.
One supplier said to have suspended delivery of all over-the-counter medicines for several weeks.
A spokesperson for the NPA told the Telegraph that it was aware that deliveries to some pharmacies had been ‘reduced’.
Boris Johnson insists on a pay rise for truckers and will send a million of them morale-booster letters
Boris Johnson has called on HGV bosses to give drivers a pay rise as the Prime Minister prepares to send them one million morale-boosting letters in the run-up to Christmas.
Ministers are said to be urging up to 40,000 retired hauliers to return to action in a last-gasp bid to save Christmas, as retailers warned the Government it has less than two weeks to prepare for the festive season.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is to personally sign off on a million morale-boosting letters urging drivers who turned away from the industry to get back on Britain’s roads.
The move comes amid a nationwide panic-buying spree at petrol stations and growing fear inside Downing Street that supermarket shelves could remain barren until December 25.
However it said the problem was ‘not generally affecting patients’ access to treatment ‘at this stage’.
Pharmacists, however, warn the issue could get worse over winter – when demand for over-the-counter drugs increases – according to the Telegraph.
The shortage of van drivers is reportedly being caused by a combination of factors.
These are said to include the UK’s wider scarcity of labour and drivers having to self-isolate because of Covid-19.
Recent changes in the rules on freelancing, brought about by a change to the IR35 rule, has also had an impact.
The rule change, introduced in April, is part of the Government’s action on companies treating full-time employees as freelancers.
However, the move has forced some drivers who want to retain their freelance status to work for multiple companies at once.
In a recent poll by industry group the Road Haulage Association, changes to the IR35 was one of the top reasons HGV drivers gave as for wanting to leave the industry.
It comes as, in the wider HGV driver shortage, it was announced that more than 10,000 temporary foreign visas will be fast-tracked by the Government as ministers rush to solve the supply chain crisis that’s threatening Christmas.
5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers will be given extraordinary three-month visas allowing them to work in the UK until Christmas Eve.
The move comes amid a nationwide panic-buying spree at petrol stations and growing fear inside Downing Street that supermarket shelves could remain barren until Christmas.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the changes, with the visas available from next month, would ‘ensure preparations remain on track’ for the festive season.
But the Road Haulage Association warned the announcement ‘barely scratches the surface’, while the British Chambers of Commerce said the measures were the equivalent of ‘throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire’.
Retailers had warned the Government that it had just 10 days to save Christmas from ‘significant disruption’ due to a shortfall of about 90,000 drivers in the freight sector.
It comes as thousands of desperate drivers ignored Government pleas for calm as they jammed roads – with fears mounting over the impact of lasting fuel shortages on the economy.
Furious motorists were seen fighting on Saturday as the nationwide rush for fuel continued amid calls for calm from the Government because less than 100 petrol stations were empty.
Shocking footage showed panic buyers punch and kick at each other during a violent brawl at an Esso petrol forecourt in Sidlesham, Chicester, as roads were left gridlocked and police had to be called in to marshal drivers.
Two men were seen grappling before throwing punches at one another, while another enraged motorist launched a flying kick at another man as the scramble for fuel turned violent in the sleepy West Sussex village.
5,000 HGV drivers and 5,500 poultry workers will be given extraordinary three-month visas allowing them to work in the UK until Christmas Eve
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (above) said the changes, with the visas available from next month, would ‘ensure preparations remain on track’ for the festive season
A major shortage of HGV drivers threatens to wreak havoc this winter, and the shortage has been exacerbated by a huge backlog in HGV tests due to Covid
The shortage of HGV drivers has long threatened to wreak havoc this winter, and it has been exacerbated by a huge backlog in HGV tests due to Covid, as well as foreign drivers returning home amid the pandemic and Brexit.
Industry groups the Food and Drink Federation and Logistics UK both welcomed the visa changes, with federation chief Ian Wright calling the measures ‘pragmatic’.
But British Chamber of Commerce president Baroness McGregor-Smith said the changes were the ‘equivalent of throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire’, and that the 5,000 new visas may be too little, too late to halt the chaos.
Meanwhile, Marc Fels, director of the HGV Recruitment Centre, told BBC Breakfast the move was ‘too little, too late’.
He said: ‘Every additional driver that is coming into the sector at the moment is going to be of benefit.
‘But I feel this is too little, because the numbers coming in, 5,000, is not going to make a very large dent on the 90,000-100,000 that we are perceived to be short.
‘And too late because we have been understanding these problems have been coming as early as April this year, so we are moving into October and only now are the Government coming up with these solutions when this has been an issue since April.’
BIG BUCKS for blue collar workforce! Desperate bosses are posting job ads to pay truckers £78,000, fruit pickers £62,000 and milkmen £45,000 amid staff shortages (time for a career change?)
Firms desperate to lure staff amid a labour shortage are offering salaries that are more than double the UK average for the same or similar roles.
Lorry drivers can pick-up £78,000-per-year – almost as much as the average barrister and more than double the £32,500 average for HGV drivers in the UK – under job vacancies being listed online.
Firms desperate for fruit and vegetable pickers are also upping their pay offers, with bumper £30-per-hour salaries.
It means those working 40 hour weeks can earn up to £62,000 – way above the £26,000 average for fruit and vegetable pickers in the UK.
A £62,000-a-year pay packet would put fruit pickers on par with dentists in terms of average annual salaries and is almost exactly double the UK average of £31,000-a-year.
Meanwhile, one courier firm is offering delivery jobs for salaries of up to £52,000-a-year – more than the average London based office salary of £42,500-a-year.
Milkmen can also earn themselves a bumper pay packet, with one employment advert offering up to £45,000-a-year for a milk delivery driver.
Lorry drivers can pick-up £78,000-per-year – more than double the £32,500 average for HGV drivers – under job vacancies being listed online. Library image
Firms desperate for fruit and vegetable pickers are also upping their salary offers, with £30-per-hour salaries. Library image
Milkmen can also earn themselves a bumper salary, with one employment advert offering up to £45,000-a-year for a milk delivery driver. Library image
Meanwhile, one courier firm, Yodel (pictured) is offering delivery jobs for salaries of up to £52,000-a-year – more than the average London based office salary of £42,500-a-year
Job adverts on Total Jobs show one HGV role offering up to £70,000 per annum. The job, based in Slough, is listed as ‘urgent’.
H Clements and Son Ltd, based in Boston, Lincs posted one job advert calling for broccoli pickers – who they say can earn up to £30-per-hour.
This works out at £240-per-day or £1,200-per-week. The monthly pay for doing it full-time is £4,800 and an annual salary of £62,400-a-year – based on an average working week.
The job advert reads: ‘We are looking for Field Operatives to harvest our broccoli. Excellent piecework with potential to earn up to £30-per-hour. All year round work available.’
An average salary for a fruit and vegetable pick, according to job site Indeed, is in the region of £26,000.
Which industries are looking for new staff?
These are the number of new job adverts posted in the UK from September 13 to September 19, according to data analysed by Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).
Care workers: 55,019
Primary school teachers: 32,942
Metal workers: 22,956
HGV drivers: 7,513
Bar staff: 6,557
Sales assistants: 32,615
School secretaries: 2,678
Lollipop men and women: 2,478
Postal workers: 2,251
*The figures are for jobs posted between September 13 – September 19. In total there are more than 1.9million active job adverts.
Meanwhile, delivery firm Yodel is looking for van drivers in south east and east London, and is offering up to £52,000-a-year.
According to job site Glassdoor, the average salary for a Yodel driver is £30,859.
Other ways to grab a plus £40,000-a-year salary is as a milkman in Loughborough.
According to Indeed, the job, working with Gmi Distribution, pays between £26,000 to £45,000-a-year and is available part and full-time. Milkmen typically earn an around £28,000.
UK job advert numbers have reached the highest figure in at least a year, with almost two million positions currently being offered, newly released figures have revealed.
Job market data from September 13 to September 19 shows more than 220,000 new job adverts were posted, bringing the total number of active job adverts to 1.9million.
According to the figures, there were 36,000 new adverts appeared for chefs, around 32,000 for sales assistants and 6,500 for bar staff in that period.
The figures for hospitality jobs are likely to reflect the country opening back up in the wake of Covid-19 rules being lifted.
But the job advert figures also show more than 7,500 job adverts have been posted for HGV drivers in the UK in the last week. Some offer salaries upward of £50,000-a-year.
The flurry of job adverts comes amid a shortage of lorry drivers across the UK.
The Road Haulage Association estimate the UK to be short of 100,000 HGV drivers.
Brexit and Covid are among the major reasons put forward by transport groups and ministers for the shortage, which has sparked chaos for the UK’s transport industry.