High petrol prices this year have been driving carers from the profession, leaving the people who rely on them without vital support, an exclusive survey shared with the BBC suggests. Natalie Rowley lost access to care five months ago.
Natalie Rowley woke as usual on Wednesday 20 April and waited for the first of her three daily carers to arrive.
The 32-year-old has needed support since complications in her pregnancy almost four years ago left her with a joint disorder and other complex health issues, which mean she is in chronic pain and unable to walk.
The previous night's homecare visit had gone as planned. Natalie had been helped to bed and given medication. But after hours of waiting that morning, a text message appeared on her phone letting her know her care had ended.
"Sadly I don't have [other] clients in your area and staff are complaining about fuel costs. Good luck with everything in the future," the text from the manager of the homecare company read.
Fuel prices were high in April and then hit a record peak this summer. And while
they have since come down slightly, Natalie has been left without a carer ever since.
In the following months, her husband, Jason, has cared for her, while also looking after their three-year-old son, and battling his own health condition.
"He helps me in and out of the shower, [with] moving from one room to another, he helps me put cream on my back, changing my pad, supporting me through seizures... he does everything basically," Natalie tells the BBC from a bed, set up in the living room of her home in Shropshire.
"It's really hard and sometimes I do feel like he's more of a carer than a husband."