Local council funds rent-free housing for GP trainees

NHS commissioners in Cumbria are providing rent-free accommodation for GP trainees from across the country in a bid to attract them to work in the county.

Workington is near the Lake District National Park (Photo: iStock)
Workington is near the Lake District National Park (Photo: iStock)

A deal between North Cumbria CCG, Allerdale Borough Council and Impact Housing has secured premises to house trainees so that they can spend a period of time in the county as part of their training.

Parts of Cumbria have suffered with recruitment problems in recent years. Both North Cumbira and South Cumbria are part of Health Education England's golden-hello scheme, the Targeting Enhanced Recruitment Scheme, which offers £20,000 to train in areas that have struggled to fill GP trainee places.

The new accommodation in Workington has been renovated to house trainees from around the country to allow them to experience working in west Cumbria.

The house was provided by Impact Housing with funding from Allerdale Borough Council which also covers trainees’ rent. 

London GP trainee Dr Hannah Lowi Jones has made use of the accommodation, spending six months in Cumbria. She said: ‘It has been refreshing and motivating to work within an area with a high demand for care with limited secondary care support. It’s an excellent opportunity to see how different healthcare needs and provision can be outside of London and urban areas.’

She added: ‘Due to the difficulties with accessing secondary care, you are supported by the practice and community to manage more complex conditions within primary care, which has been an excellent learning experience. This has also helped me to think more flexibly around how to provide and access care. I have been welcomed into an extremely supportive surgery who have encouraged me to gain wide-ranging experience in all sectors of care they manage and have helped with further training.’

Dr Temba Mudariki, who also lived in the property, said: ‘Working in West Cumbria has drastically changed my perception of the many untold opportunities available in rural areas.’

Allerdale Borough Council’s executive member for housing, health and wellbeing Carni McCarron-Holmes said: ‘It’s important to show those outside the area what we have to offer, however this can often be difficult for people to leave their homes due to financial ties. This opportunity allows medical professionals to come to our area and experience both the benefits of living and working here, plus the issues we face.’

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