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‘Crazy’ fuel hikes could drive us out of profession, say nurses

Patients could be put at risk if nurses unable to carry out frequent home visits, RCN warns

RCN warns soaring petrol costs could force some nurses off the road and put patients at risk if nurses are unable to carry out frequent home visits

Nurses have said they are spending hundreds of pounds a month on petrol to get to and from work as fuel prices continue to soar.

According to the latest data from the RAC, the cost of petrol has jumped to £1.65 a litre – up from £1.63 earlier in the week – leaving district and community nurses out of pocket.

The RCN has warned rocketing costs could force some nurses off the road and put patients at risk

RCN warns soaring petrol costs could force some nurses off the road and put patients at risk if nurses are unable to carry out frequent home visits

High fuel costs could put patients at risk if nurses are unable to carry out frequent home visits, warns RCN
Picture: iStock

Nurses have said they are spending hundreds of pounds a month on petrol to get to and from work as fuel prices continue to soar.

According to the latest data from the RAC, the cost of petrol has jumped to £1.65 a litre – up from £1.63 earlier in the week – leaving district and community nurses out of pocket.

The RCN has warned rocketing costs could force some nurses off the road and put patients at risk if nurses are unable to carry our frequent home visits.

Situation unsustainable, says RCN, and urges Rishi Sunak to signal pay rise intent in Spring Statement

Taking to Nursing Standard’s Facebook page nurses described the cost of fuel as ‘crazy’.

One nurse wrote: ‘I'm a community nurse, cost me £95 to fill my car up the other day. Will probably only last me a couple of weeks as I have to use my car to drive for work to visit my patients. Really hope things change.’

Another said: ‘It’s crazy, I’m putting in £100 of petrol every month and claiming back a quarter. Can’t claim to get to work either and have to pay for parking, too.’

The RCN has renewed its call for an urgent review of the NHS mileage rates, set by the NHS Staff Council, and called on chancellor Rishi Sunak to signal his intent to give nursing staff a pay rise in his Spring Statement next week.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: ‘The situation is becoming unsustainable – what will happen if nursing staff can’t afford to fill up their cars? It is patients who will ultimately suffer.

‘With many nursing staff already considering leaving the profession, this extra cost and pressure will not do anything to encourage people to stay.’

NHS mileage claim rates have not changed in eight years

Currently, nurses can claim 56p per mile for the first 3,500 miles a year, and 20p per mile thereafter. But even though the rates are set and reviewed twice a year by the NHS Staff Council, they have not changed in eight years. The next review due in April.

The official trigger for a change in NHS mileage rates is a 20% increase or decrease in motoring or fuel costs over a 12-month average – but it is understood that that threshold has not been reached yet. The RCN says ministers and employers must not delay until further hikes.

The RCN is calling for a 12.5% pay rise for nurses in 2022-23, but the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned giving nurses a pay rise could take billions away from other public services.


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