Mileage rates for nurses working in Scotland will increase by 5p per mile between 1 April and 31 July, the Scottish Government has announced.
In a letter sent to NHS leaders yesterday, Laura Zeballos, deputy director of health workforce pay, practice and partnership, said the temporary increases were agreed by the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC) ‘in the context of recent significant rises in fuel prices’.
The means the mileage rate for staff on Agenda for Change (AfC) terms and conditions in Scotland will increase from 56p to 61p for the first 3,500 miles and from 20p to 25p for mileage above that.
AfC motorcycle and reserve rates are also being increased by 3p (rounding up), as are the medical and dental public transport and other vehicle rates.
The STAC will assess the rates every four months and will provide a minimum of two months’ notice it reverts to the previous position.
The letter from Ms Zeballos continued: ‘STAC are committed to returning to the UK Staff Council position but feel that action is required now to support staff whilst this position is reviewed.’
‘Rest of UK must also increase mileage rates’
The RCN has welcomed the change in Scotland but argued the increased mileage rates should also be implemented in social care and across the rest of the UK.
Pat Cullen, RCN chief executive, said: ‘District and community nursing staff who rely on their cars to visit patients are telling us the rising fuel costs are forcing them to make choices between filling up their cars and feeding their families.
‘The NHS the rest of the UK now has to catch up with Scotland or there is a risk nursing staff already considering leaving the profession feel priced out and decide not to continue.’
Colin Poolman, RCN Scotland director, said: ‘The cost-of-living crisis is having a significant impact on our members. Soring fuel prices have left some nursing staff subsidising the NHS and having to make really difficult choices between filling up their cars and providing for their families.
‘RCN Scotland and the other health trade unions have worked with the Scottish government to achieve this temporary increase to mileage rates. While this is a modest increase, I know it will be of some relief to nurses and nursing support workers who have been under significant financial strain in order to provide care for their patients.’
The RCN has been calling for an urgent review of mileage allowances with the average cost of a litre of petrol hitting 162.16p and a litre of diesel 176.11p yesterday, according to the RAC. In 2021, the highest prices recorded were 147.72p for petrol and 150.96p for diesel on 22 November.
There has been no rise in payments since July 2014 in the UK, other than in Scotland. The NHS Staff Council reviews the rates in April and November every year, with the trigger for a change in rates set at a 20% increase or decrease in motoring/fuel costs over the 12-month average prices.