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Dramatic surge in nurses seeking help with money worries

‘Incredible’ rise in nurses accessing RCN’s online resources aimed at those in financial difficulty as the government imposes energy price freeze

‘Incredible’ rise in nurses accessing RCN’s online resources aimed at those in financial difficulty as the government imposes energy price freeze

There has been a dramatic surge in nurses and nursing students seeking advice on money matters as the cost of living crisis deepens.

RCN senior welfare adviser Claire Cannings said there had been an ‘incredible’ increase in members accessing the college’s online resources aimed at those in financial difficulty. It comes as the government has increased an energy price freeze in a bid to help households cope with spiralling bills.

‘Huge leap’ in number of people accessing RCN financial guidance

The number of people accessing

‘Incredible’ rise in nurses accessing RCN’s online resources aimed at those in financial difficulty as the government imposes energy price freeze

Nurses and nursing students are seeking financial advice as the cost of living crisis deepens
Picture: iStock

There has been a dramatic surge in nurses and nursing students seeking advice on money matters as the cost of living crisis deepens.

RCN senior welfare adviser Claire Cannings said there had been an ‘incredible’ increase in members accessing the college’s online resources aimed at those in financial difficulty. It comes as the government has increased an energy price freeze in a bid to help households cope with spiralling bills.

‘Huge leap’ in number of people accessing RCN financial guidance

The number of people accessing RCN guidance covering topics, such as budget planning and charitable funding more than doubled in the past month from 2,130 hits in July to 4,883 hits in August.

‘That’s not a small percentage increase – that’s a huge leap,’ said Ms Cannings, who feared many who were just about managing before were now being pushed into debt as the cost of basics like food, heating and petrol continues to rise.

She said students and some qualified nurses were resorting to selling clothes and other possessions on eBay in an effort to boost their income.

In an interview with Nursing Standard, Ms Cannings said RCN’s welfare service – which supports members in severe financial difficulty – found more people were reporting the cost of living was a key reason for getting into serious debt.

‘We anticipate there being a further increase in the numbers coming through who are getting into unmanageable debt,’ she said.

Government help with energy bills – what nurses need to know

Prime minister Liz Truss has announced a freeze on energy bills at an average of £2,500 for the next two years from October 1.

Under the ‘energy price guarantee’ the government says the average household will save around £1,000 a year, replacing the existing Ofgem price cap, which was tipped to hit £3,549 by October. However, for many, bills are still double what they were last winter.

The measures are in addition to the £400 package of support for all households due to come into play in October.

  • Those paying by credit or direct debit will receive an automatic deduction on their bills over 6 months – around £67 per month.
  • Those using pre-paid meters will be provided with energy bill discount vouchers in the first week of every month – either via text, email or post.

Some nurses are at risk of losing their homes, says college

Some are at risk of losing their homes after defaulting on mortgage payments, while others are behind on payments for cars they need for work.

‘This is not just about those that are struggling and then going to food banks – that’s one extreme,’ Ms Cannings said.

‘We have got thousands and thousands of members who are trying to increase their disposable income by doing budget planning, making sure they get all the benefits they’re entitled to and maybe applying to charitable funds. We have about 800 members a month looking at our charitable funding pages.’

Ms Cannings said financial worries were adding to stress and anxiety. The number of RCN members seeking advice on sick leave benefits has also gone up.

The RCN is campaigning for an above-inflation pay rise for nurses with members in all four UK nations set to vote on strike action over pay in coming weeks.



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