Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has backed unions in their challenge to the NHS Staff Council on the mileage rates payable to district nurses, given the dramatic rise in the cost of fuel.
The South Belfast MLA stated: “If, as anticipated, the price of petrol and diesel rises to approaching £2 per litre, the impact on the work and well-being of those in health and social care who have to use their own vehicle to travel to people in their homes will cause extreme difficulty.
“Staff in areas such as district nursing provide a vital front-line service, but it may simply cease to be viable if mileage rates remain less than half the standard civil service rate while fuel prices soar.
“I therefore strongly welcome the unions’ push to the NHS Staff Council to see these rates re-visited.
“I would emphasise, however, health is devolved in Northern Ireland and we must act urgently to address the serious impact of rising fuel prices on front-line staff who are already underpaid. District nurses and other workers in domiciliary care are already under enough pressure, and now is the time to demonstrate how valued they are.”