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Isle Of Wight NHS Trust Appeals For Help To House Junior Doctors

Housing junior doctors, nurses and paramedics on the Island has become such a problem health services have started to be affected, the Isle of Wight NHS Trust board has heard.

Key medical staff were said not to be taking jobs or filling short-term positions at the hospital due to the lack of accommodation.

The situation had recently got worse as holiday accommodation, which was used during the pandemic lockdown, was now being used by staycationers.

With an increase in ambulance activity, to higher than pre-pandemic levels, the service cannot be supplemented by private teams as they had been in the past, due to the difficulty of providing the accommodation for their crews.

It was also noted as a risk in the trust’s efforts to recover elective surgery waiting times, after a backlog of more than 1,000 people, waiting more than a year for surgery, built up due to the Covid pandemic.

Chief operating officer Joe Smyth told the board meeting the short-term recruitment issues were causing a risk, particularly in the emergency department.

He said:

“The risk is a shortage of short-term accommodation on the Island and we are finding it very, very difficult to fill posts on a locum or a bank basis for a few weeks because people simply cannot find accommodation on the Island.”

Medical director, Dr Steve Parker, said there was approximately a 15 per cent vacancy rate across the medical workforce, although it varied between services and divisions, and temporary staff were being used to help fill the gaps.

Lois Holwell, director of governance and risk, said though there had been some success in recruitment in other areas, there were some challenging pockets to fill and retain staff.

This had the potential to cause significant problems.

A project group has been established to tackle the problem, as new staff have had to consider commuting across the Solent due to the housing problems.

The trust has appealed to those on the Island who might be able to provide accommodation, from rooms and small apartments to family homes, preferably furnished to come forward.

If you are able to offer accommodation to rent please contact the human resources department at St. Mary’s on 01983 822099 ext: 3720 or email [email protected]

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