Research and Technology

22.02.19

NHS staff and families to be evicted under plans to close accommodation

Staff at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust could be forced out of their homes as the trust’s plans to close the accommodation at the facility have been brought forward.

A letter sent by the trust to tenants, seen by NHE, outlines the phased closure of the properties, with the first set of tenants being informed that they must leave the properties by the end of May.

Residents voiced their concerns with local media Leicestershire Live, with one family – where both parents work at the trust and have three children – are included in the first cohort of evictions, and must leave their home of 10 years by 31 May.

Another resident told Leicestershire Live: “They need to give us more warning, more time. That’s all we ask.

“We need to know about schools, we have shifts to organise, some people have holidays booked.”

Other residents reported that the accommodation had been allowed to fall into disrepair, claiming that requests for upgrades and repairs had been refused.

The closure of the properties is part of the trust’s plans to overhaul the way health and care services are delivered in the area.

The trust informed NHE that of its 86 occupied properties, 23 have already informed them of their intention to leave, meaning that 63 are subject to Section 21 notices (notifying tenants of their eviction).

The trust emphasised in its letter to residents that its accommodation team “will do all they can” to support them throughout the rehoming process, and will offer them the opportunity to meet with the accommodation team on a one-to-one basis to discuss individual circumstances.

The trust also offered residents who might end up in unfurnished accommodation the opportunity to take any furniture from the properties with them free of charge, and is hosting a number of accommodation ‘roadshows’.

Darryn Kerr, director of estates and facilities at the trust, noted that although the programme commences on 1 March, it will be phased out over 12 months.

He commented: “This extended period will enable the trust to better manage the process in supporting our residents, giving them the maximum opportunity to find alternative accommodation.

“This significantly exceeds the statutory notice period, but aims to ensure that we can close the accommodation before further deterioration occurs. The decision to close the residencies has not been taken lightly and we are committed to helping staff as sensitively and supportively as it can.”

On the state of the properties, Kerr said: “We accept that the accommodation has been deteriorating for some time, however it has been maintained to a safe standard. In view of this, and the fact that in recent year’s capital investment in clinical schemes have had to take priority, no major refurbishment programme has been funded.

“During this time we have been monitoring the condition of the properties and a ‘tipping point’ has now been reached, where we do not have the resources available to invest in repairs and upgrade and we therefore consider it necessary to close the accommodation. We have actually been decommissioning individual properties over recent years that have already reached that point, moving tenants around into other accommodation on site.”

Top image: Rui Vieira via PA Archive

 

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