The current NHS fuel rates are now leaving nursing staff out of pocket.
Community nurses are being left “out of pocket” as petrol and diesel prices have hit record highs.
Nursing staff caring for patients in their own homes and other community settings most often use their vehicles to travel to and from visits.
Staff are only usually permitted to claim up to 56p per mile for the first 3,500 miles and 20p for each additional mile – to cover both the fuel cost and maintenance of their vehicle.
With the recent spike in fuel costs, those rates are now leaving nursing staff out of pocket.
A month ago, the price at the pumps for petrol and diesel were 148.0p and 151.6p respectively, and last week they were 161.1p and 170.1p.
One district nurse told NursingNotes they were spending £35 a week more on fuel now than in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic.
An urgent review.
The NHS Staff Council reviews mileage rates in April and November twice a year. The trigger for a change in rates is a 20% increase or decrease in motoring or fuel costs over a 12-month average.
The current framework and payment rates for work-related travel, including those providing care in the community, was re-negotiated in July 2014 but has not increased since.
The next review is due to take place in April 2022 and reported back in May. However, health unions are now calling for an urgent review due to the current spike and expected continuing price increases.
RCN National Officer Brian Morton said: “There must be an urgent review of NHS mileage rates, alongside immediate additional payments, to address the dramatic increase in fuel prices.
“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 the plate without this additional worry.”