The rising price of petrol is piling on the financial pressure for some community nurses traveling to and from patients. Soaring fuel rates have left many drivers feeling anxious about the cost of filling up their tanks and are cutting back on car journeys in a bid to save money.
But what about the workers who do not have a choice when it comes to driving? Market Harborough Great Bowden and Arden councillor, Phil Knowles, has been talking to community nurses within his ward about the cost of traveling to take care of patients in their homes.
“The amount they have to spend on putting fuel in their cars to maintain care in the community compared to what they’re able to claim back is leaving many of them out of pocket,” he told LeicestershireLive. “The nurses were absolutely beside themselves when they spoke to me.
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“One of them said to me ‘I do not know how much longer I can carry on doing this and, unless there’s a resolution, I’m afraid I will have to leave nursing’. They said at the moment they’re under enough pressure to put food on their tables for their families and meet all their other financial requirements.
“With all the other cost of living pressures they’re under and all the considerable stress that further cost increases are on the horizon, they are very, very worried about the future and the security they have in the job. The community nurses are such an important part of the health care in the community that if their services are under threat, you would not want to imagine the knock-on effect for many patients. ”
Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, which oversees community health services in the county, has said it is looking into ways in which these costs on workers can be reduced. Currently, the NHS fuel reimbursement rate is 56p per mile for the firs 3,500 miles and then 20p per mile for each additional mile, according to the Royal College of Nursing.
A spokesperson for LPT said: “We share the concerns of our staff around the rising cost of living and have introduced a number of initiatives to support them with financial wellbeing, including an additional temporary supplement for those driving more than 400 miles a month. Our current fuel rates are governed by the NHS national terms and conditions.
“We are now looking at a range of other local options to support staff who are incurring significant daily mileage as part of their role. There is a range of health and wellbeing support available to our staff, and staff who are particularly struggling should speak to their line manager so that they can advise on appropriate support. ”
Coun Knowles said he is ‘pleased the Trust is taking this matter very seriously and exploring all sorts of options as to how to manage it’.
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