NHS trust offers rent-free accommodation for new nursing recruits
An NHS trust is meeting recruitment challenges by offering new nurse starters rent-free accommodation on its hospital sites.
An NHS trust has offered new nurses a helping hand with rent-free accommodation as part of a recruitment campaign.
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust started the scheme after candidates for its nursing roles were struggling to find accommodation locally. The trust also competes with nurses being attracted by higher salaries in nearby London.
Rent-free rooms across sites
Now in a drive to recruit 190 band 5 nurses, it has offered new starters rent-free rooms within student accommodation blocks on its three hospital sites.
Some 100 rooms were set aside at Wexham Park, Frimley Park and Heatherwood Hospitals.
The rooms are available rent free for eight weeks, where after nurses can move on to alternative accommodation or remain and pay £350-a-month rent.
If on-site rooms are not available, the trust subsidises privately-rented accommodation up to the same value.
Driving down commutes
The move comes as nurses at this year's RCN Congress warned colleagues who were priced out of affordable housing near their workplaces were risking their health by driving long distances home after shifts.
Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust assistant director of resourcing Tom White said: ‘Frimley Health as a brand for nursing is strong, we weren’t struggling for candidates.
‘But the struggle for them was finding accommodation. It was to remove those barriers.’
In May, an RCN London survey revealed that 40% of nurses plan to leave the capital in the next five years because they cannot afford to stay.
The college called on London mayor Sadiq Khan to deliver an action plan to support health staff to live in the capital to deliver safe patient care.
Mr White added the trust was also competing with salaries offered in London, recent applications to join his trust had increased by about 20%.
A total of 174 job offers have been made since the scheme started two months ago.
The scheme will run until the end of October when it will be evaluated.