Rising Fuel Prices – Actions to Support Nurses
The QNI is keen to hear of practices that are being implemented to help address the impact of rising fuel costs on community nurses, especially how organisations have been able to increase reimbursement rates to frontline staff without impacting on other terms and conditions, including tax and National Insurance.
Solutions being explored by provider organisations
Example 1 – July 2022
‘In recognising the continued increased in the cost of fuel, and the financial strain this is having on many people… a temporary increase of 5p per business mile will be implemented, rising from 56p to 61p per mile. The increase applies to work-related travel only and will run from 1 July until 31 December 2022. Please note the changes are a taxable benefit and there may also be an impact for some people claiming Universal Credit.’
Example 2 – June 2022
- Paying forward immediately £100 for each member of staff
- Paying for up to £1000 of driving lessons for nurses new to a community nursing role, including newly qualified nurses
- Purchasing employer owned and maintained pool cars which are accessible to all nurses and HCSWs working in the community – each coming with a fuel card for buying the petrol/diesel
- Utilising car drivers for nurses at night.
Example 3 – June 2022
‘…the cost of living squeeze and the additional burden of fuel costs [is] an issue [with a] thinly spread rural population where miles travelled per patient visited may be greater…we are having reports of nurses having to put as much as £400 aside to cover the cost of travel each month; this is affecting people’s wish to remain in community nursing and is impacting on service as staff are more reluctant to undertake additional shifts…
‘93% of our District Nursing Staff [are] using the electronic scheduling software [and] that does reduce miles travelled per patient, but with the pressure on the service, district nurses are travelling more now than they ever have. [We] are looking at the data from this system to see who is covering the most miles and how this can be moderated, so the least paid in our services are not taking the highest burden…
‘NHS Employers have worked in partnership with Trade Unions and mileage rates were increased in April across all our healthcare organisations and the 45 pence per mile rate has been increased to 50 pence per mile for the months of April, May and June. NHS Employers are working in social partnership with Trade Unions to consider a baseline above which a future increase in mileage rates would be triggered.
‘We need to consider how electric vehicles can be incentivised; it should be noted that at present the price per mile reimbursement is the same as petrol… whilst electricity is also going up the costs per mile are still considerably less than petrol/diesel cars. The wider green and active travel agenda is being developed, … [moving to] pool cars and [addressing] this matter more strategically as part of our staff support and green agendas.’
Actions by Community Service Providers from Twitter, May/June 2022
- @DorsetHealth increased mileage rate to 54p and increased the mileage at which the rate changes to a reduced rate from 3,500 to 10,000 miles per year. To be reviewed regularly in light of possible further changes to petrol price.
- @NottsHealthcare have increased mileage rate to 79p a mile and is under review every few months if staff do over 3000 miles they get an extra 700 pounds each time.
- @OxfordHealthNHS increased the mileage allowance to 50p/mile.
- @ESHTNHS is supporting staff by not bringing car parking fees back in which were halted in response to COVID19, just a nominal charge for a parking permit.
- @BucksHealthcare scrapped the 3,500-mile cap, gave us all an extra 5p/mile backdated from July 21 – February 23.
- @WinnMatthew We’ve eradicated the 3,000 cap and backdated to January anyone who reverted to the lower agenda for change mileage rate. 2) agreed an increased rate with lease car provider Agenda for change rates re-set today – so we’ll review when people get near the 3000 mark again.
- @TheresaEckley12 Just sorting through our £50 emergency fuel payments for Community staff.
- @MTWnhs is supporting staff with the cost of living crisis by increasing fuel payments to 59p up to 3,500 miles and keeping car parking free until Sept.
The Impact on Community Nurses (Source: Twitter)
- “It’s literally for this reason as to why I won’t take a community nurse job even though my heart is in community nursing.”
- “It is a real worry for Health Visitors working in a rural area.”
- “Maybe we can encourage the use of pool cars… More sustainable.”
- “One way might be a return to crown cars, leased & electric. Might affect productivity as assumes you go to a base to start or you can take a car home and recharge. Cost of fuel is only going one way in the long run and expenses will never match or cover switch to electric.”
- “If you work in community in our rural country, the cost of fuel is becoming prohibitive.”
- “I’m over my mileage since March so only getting 20p per mile and when I do around 550 plus work miles a month it’s crippling me financially.”
- “Not to mention parking. Free parking during Covid made such a difference. Knowing the meter is running out when you are with a dying patient and their family should not be the thing concerning community nurses.”
You might also be interested in:
- The QNI has called on the government for more action to support community nurses who are facing steeply rising fuel bills to reach their patients. Find out more.
- Financial help for community nurses.
- Milage allowance FAQs by NHS Employers.