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28.04.16

Four in 10 London nurses contemplating leaving the capital – RCN

Healthcare in London could be facing an exodus of nurses over unaffordable and uncomfortable housing, a new survey from the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) warns.

The survey found that 40% of nurses said they would probably or definitely leave London in the next five years.

Housing was strongly linked to this, with 66.3% agreeing that the cost of housing had made them consider leaving London. Over three-quarters of the respondents said the cost of housing took up a bigger share of their income compared to last year, and 74.6% added that they would be more likely to live in London if their housing needs were met.

Ahead of next week’s London mayoral election, the RCN joined the campaign for the next mayor to deliver an action plan to support staff to live in the capital.

Bernell Bussue, London regional director at the RCN, said: “With staffing shortages in London getting worse by the year, while patient need continues to go up, essential services are being stretched to breaking point.

“The new mayor needs to show real leadership and ensure that nursing staff are able to live and work here in the numbers needed to keep patients safe.”

RCN research shows that the amount of unfilled nursing places in London is rising, from 11% in 2013 to 17% in 2015, compared to 9% nationally.

Nurses also complained about the quality of their accommodation, with 50.8% having experienced problems with mould in the past year and 44.3% having experienced heating problems.

When respondents were asked what would help them remain in London, the most popular responses were cheaper rented accommodation for key workers linked to the local council or housing association (with 60.02% in favour), help to buy policies (58.55%) and discounted travel (57.94%).

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