NHS Grampian plans new homes to attract key workers
More than 100 homes for health workers could be built as part of NHS Grampian’s battle to attract staff to the north-east.
The health board has taken the first step towards creating “key worker” accommodation at Foresterhill Court on Burnside Gardens, after submitting a planning application to Aberdeen City Council.
Drafted in conjunction with Grampian Housing Association and designed by Halliday Fraser Munro, the plans will see 110 flats built and the existing NHS staff building demolished.
Gerry Lawrie, deputy director of workforce with NHS Grampian, said the plans outline how the site – which currently houses a disused bowling green and overgrown allotments – to provide housing for over 200 staff is deemed “essential” for the board.
She said: “Recruitment of specialist staff has long been a challenge for all public sector organisations in the north-east and it is no different for NHS Grampian. It is well known that one of the biggest obstacles is the relatively high cost of housing – and the provision of key worker accommodation is one of the ways we are aiming to alleviate that.”
The embattled health board has recently announced a number of new measures to increase staffing numbers including a scheme to bring back former nurses to wards. In October, Audit Scotland revealed staff turnover at hospitals in the north and north-east was the highest in Scotland. But recently- released figures show that more than 300 new staff members have joined NHS Grampian over the past year following a major recruitment drive.
Neil Clapperton, chief executive of Grampian Housing Association, said: “We are pleased to be working with NHS Grampian on this exciting project which sees the realisation of the association’s plans to expand its provision of housing to key workers.
“We are acutely aware of the need for affordable homes to attract and retain public sector workers to the north-east and are committed to addressing the current shortage in partnership with employers.”
The flats would form part of the £150 million redevelopment of Foresterhill announced in August, which also includes the creation of the Baird Family Hospital, a new cancer centre and the relocation of Foresterhill Health Centre.