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40,000 new homes could help to solve NHS recruitment problems

Industry leaders are calling on the government to create a £10bn fund to revive the tradition of providing homes for NHS staff.

Hiring and retaining key hospital staff has proven to be a challenge for the NHS in recent times due to the high cost of local housing, meaning many are being forced to travel long distances for work.

As a consequence, some are suggesting that the NHS should release its large reserves of spare land to create room for up to 40,000 new homes for staff who are affected by a serious housing shortage.

Modern versions of nurses’ homes, once a common feature of NHS hospitals, would be built under the proposals by the NHS Confederation, which represents 560 health service organisations.

The confederation's chief executive, Niall Dickson, has called on the government to create a new £10bn NHS Homes Fund to revive the tradition of the health service providing homes for its staff. He hopes that this effort will help to tackle the recruitment problems currently blighting some areas of the NHS.

“There was a time when there were nurses’ homes all over the country but they all fell into disuse and were sold off from the 1960s onwards,” Dickson told the Observer. “We believe there is a case for new-style homes for NHS staff, particularly where the cost of housing is very high, which leads to staff not wanting to work in these places because they can’t find proper accommodation or have to travel long distances.”

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