Chancellor Alistair Darling is expected to make changes to the Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAP) scheme by lowering the recommended amount employees can claim in his budget statement on 12 March.
The change is part of a wider government policy to encourage people to use their cars less to reduce the environmental impact of fuel emissions.
The AMAP in its present form recommends employees receive 40p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25p after that.
This is currently less than the rates community nurses and other NHS staff can claim per mile, under interim recommendations negotiated between a sub-group of the NHS Staff Council and NHS Employers in January, which are being reviewed.
Under interim arrangements nurses can claim one of two rates – the highest being 36.9p per business mile for the first 9,000 miles and 20.1p for anything after that (NT News, 29 January, p4).
Work on a final revised mileage allowance rate is ongoing between unions and NHS Employers.
But the Community and District Nursing Association Nurses warned that if the level of AMAP is reduced it could have negative consequences for the revised mileage allowance for NHS staff.
Rowena Smith, CDNA chairperson, said: ‘A reduction in AMAP could jeopardise future negotiation to try and raise fuel payments for nurses who are already left out of pocket as the situation currently stands.
‘While we support any reasonable effort to reduce carbon emissions, it must not be done at the expense of nurses or their patients,’ she added.
According to CDNA, of the 200 nurses who have so far responded to a survey on morale, 96% said there was a significant shortfall between the cost of using their own car for work and the amount they were reimbursed.