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04.03.16

Mayoral candidates urged to make London affordable for NHS staff

London mayoral candidates must show a commitment to making the capital a feasible living place for NHS staff in their upcoming manifestos, the London NHS Partnership and NHS Employers have said.

They warned that staff are having to either move out of London and commute to work or leave their posts altogether, adding to pressures on NHS staff, contributing to staff shortages and workplace stress.

In 2010-15 transport costs in London rose by 25% and average house prices rose by 37%, 11 times the average NHS London salary.

Ben Morrin, director of workforce at University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, part of London NHS Partnership, said: “London’s NHS relies upon great staff. Yet retaining them is the greatest workforce challenge London’s NHS faces.

“The next mayor can make a vital contribution by committing to review how we can reduce transport costs for nurses, therapists and scientists who will otherwise struggle to remain in London.”

Royal College of Nursing research shows that the amount of unfilled nursing places in London is rising, from 11% in 2013 to 17% in 2015.

A British Medical Association survey, released this week, found that 41% of London GP practices have doctors who are planning to retire or leave UK general practice within a year.

The London NHS Partnership and NHS Employers are calling on London mayoral candidates to make a commitment to working with London trusts and Transport for London to review the scope to reduce transport costs for key NHS staff, providing key worker housing and prioritising new housing developments for NHS workers.

Shaun Wright, a senior nurse from East London, said: “Excessive commutes to work are becoming more and more the norm because of lack of affordable housing in London. This is known to be a significant factor in sickness/absence and fatigue at work.

“An 11 hour continuous break between day shifts, required by working time regulations is not real if three hours is spent commuting back and forth to work.”

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