St Mary’s calls for pay to meet living expenses

Nurses’
pay would have to be tripled in order for them to afford housing for their
families in central London, a leading HR professional in the NHS has claimed.

Deborah
O’Dea, HR director at St Mary’s Hospital in London, believes the 50 per cent turnover
rate for newly-qualified nurses within her trust is caused by accommodation
problems.

Buying
a three-bedroom house in the area costs around £180,000 – beyond the means of
experienced nurses earning £18,950 per year.

O’Dea
said, “We found it costs £1,950 per calendar month to rent a one-bedroom flat
in Paddington – more than a nurse’s monthly salary. Currently, 58 per cent of
her staff live in west or northwest London, with up to 900 needing hospital
accommodation.

Surveys
of hospital staff by the HR department shows that staff most likely to stay
with the hospital were over aged 40.

She
believes that recruiting older, settled people who are likely to own their own
house is key to solving the recruitment and retention problems.

Speaking
at a School of Business and Industrial Management conference on affordable
housing in the NHS in London last week, she said, “I believe there is a direct
link between the housing our staff live in and providing quality healthcare to
the people of west London.

“I
want nurses to be able to get on the accommodation ladder so they can achieve
the ambition of a three-bedroom flat.”

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