Accommodation problems means hospitals turning away potential staff

Hospitals turning away potential staff due to lack of accommodation is turning away staff

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Addenbrooke's Hospital and the Rosie maternity hospital in the city, is turning away potential staff due to lack of accommodation. - Credit: Archant

A hospital trust said it was turning away 20 potential staff each month because it could not find housing for them.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said the issue could end up having an impact on hospital services.

At a Board of Directors meeting on May 11, David Wherrett, trust director of the workforce, said the trust is having to invite staff to join other organisations because it cannot find accommodation close to the hospital. 

He said the accommodation problem has “never been more acute” and said it could compromise the trust’s ability to deliver on its ambitions. 

Mr Wherret said: “I try to keep my blood pressure even when talking about accommodation. It is a problem and currently we have no solution to it. 

“Particularly for international recruits, we have to provide accommodation and we are having a hard time finding that in Cambridge.” 

Mr Wherrett told the meeting that the trust has filled up the capacity it has on its site, and explained that whole housing blocks have also been rented in the city, but that this still is not enough. 

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He also said how he now questioned a decision to convert previous staff accommodation into offices. 

Mr Wherrett added: “Also, after the first few months, staff look to move to private or other housing and that is hard; they have to make a choice about staying in Cambridge or not.” 

In the chief executive, Roland Sinker’s, report to the meeting, he highlighted that the cost of living in Cambridge is cited as one of the main reasons why staff choose to leave the trust. 

He said: “With increasing rates of attrition, where we are now seeing a return to pre-pandemic levels (13.9 per cent), we have a strategic focus on retention and how this can be improved.” 

In a report presented to the meeting it said that the trust’s overall turnover rate has remained above average for the sixth consecutive month. 

The report also highlighted areas of special concern including staff in nursing and midwifery, with a turnover rate of 14.8 per cent, and healthcare scientists, with a turnover rate of 17.4 per cent. 

Mr Wherrett and Mr Sinker both told the meeting that the trust is looking at ways to increase the accommodation that it can offer.