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Community nurses hit by severe flooding offered £500 grant

Community nurses severely affected by recent floods have been offered £500 to help with the costs of finding new housing, making repairs due to water damage, or losing vehicles needed to do their work.

The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) is offering an emergency grant to anyone from the community nursing workforce impacted by recent flooding.

“Especially for a community nurse, if your car is written off you can’t work”

Justine Curtis

The charity, which oversees the Queen’s Nurse programme, works to support and represent community nurses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Justine Curtis, QNI grants manager, told Nursing Times that some English community nurses reported having their work and personal lives completely turned upside down by the recent bad weather.

Since the end of 2023, heavy rain and the storms Gerrit and Henk have put many areas of England – particularly the South and Midlands – on high alert for flooding.

In some places, flooding from the two storms caused significant property damage, injuries and even evacuations.

Reports of people having to leave their homes and footing huge bills for alternative accommodation or repairs led the QNI to reopen an emergency relief scheme it had briefly operated during the damage wrought by Storm Babet last year.

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The scheme offers £500 to any community nurse severely impacted by flooding. The charity said general practice nurses, district nurses, care home nurses, school nurses and health visitors would all qualify.

Since opening the scheme, Ms Curtis said that the impact of the floods for those working in community settings was immediately clear.

“Some [nurses] have had cars written off. Especially for a community nurse, if your car is written off you can’t work and some insurance companies don’t pay out as much as your second-hand car is worth.

“They’re left out of pocket,” she noted.

Referring to the impact Storm Babet had when the scheme was first opened, she said: “We had people apply, mainly from the Derbyshire area and in Nottingham, where people were largely affected.

“There were some quite sad cases about nurses having to evacuate houses and live in hotels with their children,” she said.

She added: “One person told me she had to go into rental accommodation. Because she had pets, the only place she could find was a completely unfurnished rental.”

That particular case, Ms Curtis said, meant the flooding left a nurse with massive bills to pay and poor living conditions.

She said the costs of living in a flooded area were higher than people realised. “There’s having to pay for your [temporary] house, then having to pay for food, many had to just live on takeaways,” she said.

“Some had to take emergency leave – others even unpaid leave, because they had already used their holiday,” she said. “And these things take so much time to sort out.”

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Ms Curtis warned that she expected to hear more stories like this resulting from the current period of flooding.

Details on how to apply for the £500 grant can be found on the QNI’s website. Applications opened this week and will remain open until further notice.

Ms Curtis explained that all applications were looked at individually and verified with employers where possible.

This is not the first time the QNI has offered relief money to the community nursing workforce.

In 2022, during the petrol crisis caused in large part by the war in Ukraine, the charity offered grants to community nurses to pay for fuel.

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