Lib Dem MP Jamie Stone has called for a better deal for health and care staff who travel as part of their job as he highlighted that staff are set to be hard hit by recent rises in fuel costs.
At present, NHS staff who travel more than 3,500 miles annually see their reimbursement reduced from 61p per mile to just 25p per mile.
In Mr Stone’s constituency of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, some nursing staff move onto the lower rate in a matter of months given the large areas they cover, leaving them out of pocket.
The MP has written to NHS Scotland asking for the 3,500-mile rule to be abolished, in recognition of the long distances that many rural nurses and carers travel in the course of their work.
Jamie Stone MP commented:
“The hard-working nursing staff in the North of Scotland face some unique challenges – not least the incredibly long journeys many of them make to care for local people.
“But NHS Scotland rules dramatically slash staff mileage reimbursement after 3,500 miles, leaving many rural nurses and carers out of pocket.
“This will be exacerbated by recent rises in fuel prices.
“For two years health and care staff have kept us all safe, often at huge cost to their own physical and mental health.
“Now they are set to feel the cost-of-living crisis bite too.
“Even worse, with almost a third of rail services cancelled they can’t even look to get the train as an alternative.
“It’s time for the Scottish Health Secretary to step in and ensure that staff are not penalised for taking jobs in rural areas which require travelling as part of their job.”