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NHS mileage: call for urgent review amid soaring petrol prices

Community nurses bear the brunt as travel costs escalate yet reimbursement allowances are stuck at levels set almost a decade ago
Nurse at a petrol pump as prices soar and community staff lose out

Community nurses bear the brunt as travel costs escalate yet reimbursement allowances are stuck at levels set back in 2014

Community nurses are worried they will have to choose between heating their homes and running their car as petrol prices rocket to £1.63 a litre .

The RCN is calling on the NHS Staff Council to review its expenses guidelines, as nurses using their own cars to drive hundreds of miles a week to visit patients are struggling to keep up with prices at the petrol pumps.

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Strain on nurses’ own finances

Community nurses bear the brunt as travel costs escalate yet reimbursement allowances are stuck at levels set back in 2014

Nurse at a petrol pump as prices soar and community staff lose out
Picture: Neil O’Connor

Community nurses are worried they will have to choose between heating their homes and running their car as petrol prices rocket to £1.63 a litre.

The RCN is calling on the NHS Staff Council to review its expenses guidelines, as nurses using their own cars to drive hundreds of miles a week to visit patients are struggling to keep up with prices at the petrol pumps.

Strain on nurses’ own finances

RCN national officer Brian Morton, said: ‘Some district and community nursing staff who rely on their cars to visit patients are telling us they are paying £100 more on petrol every month, putting an additional strain on their finances.

‘Faced with heavy workloads and real-terms pay cuts, they already have more than enough on their plate without this additional worry.’

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.

Union and public support for increase in mileage allowance

With spiralling petrol costs, accelerated by the invasion of Ukraine, the RCN are not alone in calling for an urgent review to help support nurses now.

More than 42,000 people have signed a petition calling on the NHS to increase the allowance.

The petition was set Adam Gray, whose wife is a trainee community nurse. He said he was appalled at community nurses’ ‘horrendous’ situation.

Signatories are adding comments, with Bethan Bolton writing: ‘It is absolutely shocking that healthcare workers who must visit and look after sick, vulnerable children and adults at home, have to pay out of their own pockets to do so.’

And Jane French said: ‘Healthcare workers don't get paid enough as it is. Fuel prices are going up shockingly so they should not have to stump up the rest just to do their jobs.’

Nurses are using social media to voice concern about the impact rising costs is having on their pockets.

Chief executive of NHS Employers Danny Mortimer said: ‘Employers are very concerned about this issue, and we are working closely with the government, NHS England and trade unions to agree a way forward.’


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