The RCN is calling for an ‘urgent and early review’ of the NHS mileage rates as rising fuel costs hit the pockets of nurses who travel for work.
Fuel prices have soared since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the average cost of a litre of petrol hitting 163.5p and a litre of diesel 173.4p on Sunday, according to data firm Experian Catalist. Prices were 148.0p per litre for petrol and 151.6p a month before.
The RCN is urging NHS employers across the UK to provide an immediate additional payment, as well as an ‘urgent and early review’ of NHS mileage rates available to those on Agenda for Change contracts and those with mileage allowances built into their contracts.
The ‘nursing workforce travelling to deliver nursing care cannot afford to subsidise the NHS through the current spike in fuel costs,’ it warned in a statement.
Current mileage rates
Currently, nurses can claim 56p per mile for the first 3,500 miles and then 20p for each additional mile, with no rise in payment since July 2014 – although this rate can vary between Trusts. These reimbursement rates apply to all staff regardless how far they are required to travel as part of their jobs.
The NHS Staff Council reviews the rates in April and November every year, taking into account all motoring costs and the cost of fuel. The trigger for a change in rates is a 20% increase or decrease in motoring/fuel costs over the 12-month average prices.
However, the RCN has said the ‘current spike and expected continuing price increases’ means the next review – which is due to take place in April and reported back in May – should take place early.
It continued: ‘Even if the 12-month average price increase, used for the normal twice per year review, has not reached a tipping point for triggering a full rate change we are calling on the NHS employers across the UK to provide an immediate additional payment at this time.’