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Nurses demand better petrol rates

Nursing bosses have called on the government to help staff who need to drive for work cope with soaring petrol prices.

The Royal College of Nursing said community nurses are effectively subsidising the NHS because petrol mileage allowances have not kept pace with the soaring price at the pumps.

It has written to Chancellor Alastair Darling asking for nurses to be compensated, the Nursing Standard reports.

NHS guidelines say trusts should pay community nurses who run their own cars, 33.5p a mile for the first 9,000 miles and 18.3p a mile after that point.

But the Inland Revenue calculates self-employed people can claim back tax at 40p a mile for running their own transport.

On top of that, the cost of petrol has risen by 32% since the nurses' mileage allowances were last increased in 2000.

Evelyn Ryan, a district nurse team leader in Coatbridge, north Lanarkshire, said: "The cost of fuel is having a huge impact.

"Nurses are having to pay to come to work. Most have lease cars and the petrol allowance is very, very low. Nurses feel they cannot go on with this."

NHS Employers, a body that negotiates pay and conditions, also issued guidance to trusts in January that rates should go up.

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Royal College of Nursing

Does this sound like a good idea to you? Are the soaring petrol prices having a big impact on your life? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"Yes I agree with the proposal. I work in the community and have a lease car at present. My mileage per month is 400-500 miles. I put in an average of £80 worth of petrol and get back in travel expenses £20-£40. I am paying to go to work. I am thinking of giving up my lease car because of the difference in the milage allowences between lease cars and your own car. I have worked out that I would be better off using my own car." - Rita Tranter, Staffordhshire

"I agree with Ann Parry from Norht East. I am a community nurse from Cardiff and think we should not have to pay for the cost of petrol used at all during the course of our work. She is right when she says police and firemen would not pay for the petrol they need to use. I think another good idea is why don't the trusts pay for pool cars so people could use them as and when needed, rather than using their own vehicles. This would cut the trust expenditure for regular car user allowance etc, and they could save money that way. As I live in a city I could leave mine at home then and cut down on carbon emissions, and cycle to work." - Dave Anslow, St Davis Hospital, Cardiff

"I am a health visitor working in the city. I have a lease car, petrol allowance is low when leasing. I have noticed an increase of at least £18 a week to run my car. Between petrol increase, car parking charges, below inflation price rise. Community staff will need secondary employment to subsidise their salary." - Marie Garrity, NHS Glasgow & Clyde

"I am a health visitor in a rural practice covering 250 square miles, and I too am finding it more and more difficult to afford the cost of diesel. Good point made by Ann Parry of Newcastle - just to point out that the two examples she gives of police and firemen are both male dominant, so as a predominantly female profession are we more easily ignored?" - Linda Boyd, Durham

"Working in a city location where traffic flow is often very stop start, even those low mileage journeys are undertaken at high consumption rates. The current price of fuel means that greater percentages of the disposable income of community-based staff is being spent meeting the needs of their employers. With so many NHS staff being lower paid and/or reduced hours employees, the impact of the increased cost of fuel is becoming problematic." - P Brady, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

"Community nurses should not have to pay for petrol used in the course of their work. Why should they be covering the cost, would the police or firemen pay for petrol for their vehicles? I don't think so." - Ann Parry, North East

"Yes. I believe the threshold of 9,000 miles should be done away with and also the 50% cut per mile thereafter. I work in a trustwide post and currently travel approx 1,400 miles per annum. I cannot afford to continue like this. It is very interesting that medical staff are not subjected to this treatment." - Audrey McIlvenna, Northern Trust, Antrim, Northern Ireland