Derry MP calls for mileage rates increase for healthcare workers
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Highlighting the 39.5% increase in motoring costs since 2013, Mr Eastwood vocalised concerns brought to him in recent times by those working in the sector, the SDLP Leader said:
"I've had chronically underpaid and undervalued healthcare staff in my office in Derry worrying about how they will cope with rising food, energy and fuel prices. Many of those who have to use a car as part of their jobs to care for people in our community are struggling to make ends meet through the continuing cost of living emergency.
"To carry out their roles, workers must buy, insure and tax the car, pay for the fuel and fork out money for any wear and tear. Figures from the RAC show the costs of motoring have increased 39.5% over the past 10 years, so staff need a fairer deal on mileage rates so they can keep doing their vital jobs”.
Mr Eastwood acknowledged the recent approval for the increase in mileage for ‘Agenda for Change’ staff, but has challenged the DoH to expand this to all workers in the sector,
"I'm calling on the Department of Health to urgently review their mileage rate allowance, support those healthcare workers who rely on their cars to do their job and increase this rate in recognition of the current cost of living emergency impacting staff,” Mr Eastwood added.
Last June then Health Minister Robin Swann announced a mileage rate increase for work-related car travel by Agenda for Change (AfC) staff, including Trust employed domiciliary care workers and district nurses.
The rates were 56ppm for the first 3,500 miles, and 20ppm for each mile thereafter.
After considering a range of options for AfC staff, the Minister decided to increase the rate paid for mileage incurred above 3,500 miles to 30p per mile for an initial six month period.
At the time Trusts were also being asked to explore issuing fuel cards to eligible staff when they reach the 3,500 mile threshold.