First two homes ready for junior doctors to move in at Telford hospital
The first two houses being renovated in a bid to attract doctors to Telford's Princess Royal Hospital have been completed.
Having been refurbished by community led efforts and donations, work on the remaining two houses is set to start at the end of the month and expected to be finished by June.
The project has seen individuals, businesses, town and parish councils and community groups donate time and money to the cause.
This comes after a DIY SOS appeal was launched by Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies in efforts to resolve the hospital's staffing crisis.
The trust that runs Shropshire's two acute hospitals, the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), will become the first in the country to house its junior doctors for free.
Councillors, members of SaTH and local dignitaries were in attendance to mark the opening and celebrate the work.
Speaking inside one of the new houses, Ben Reid, chair of SaTH said: "This represents an incredible showing of support for this hospital and its community.
"As everyone knows, it's tough working within the NHS at the moment, particularly in this trust.
"But here we stand with accommodation which is ideal for doctors and nurses so we can attract them to the county.
"Prior to this we had accommodation that was not up to standard, the trust was aware of the issue and almost at the point of closing these houses down.
"I want to thank everyone who has been involved. This hospital belongs to the people of Telford & Wrekin. It's what they talk about and what they rely upon and everyone in this community has done an outstanding job to ensure we attract the brightest people to come and work here."
Parish and town councils from across the borough have donated more than £30,000 towards the project, along with businesses and individuals donating materials and resources.
Councillor Shaun Davies said the community spirit that had been shown was breathtaking.
"Firstly I have to say a big thank you to all of those who have contributed to this project, without you none of this would have been possible," he said.
"I made the call, but it was the people that delivered, and I'm incredibly proud to see what a difference our town can make.
"For our health care and economy, we know that we need to attract brilliant junior doctors and nurses to come to Telford and Shropshire to train, work, and live here.
"Our message is clear – if you're a junior doctor in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin or further afield, we want you to come and work here."
The trust also has plans to relocate the Doctors' Mess area from an old building to inside the hospital, developing a community space for doctors and nurses to use.
Julia Clarke, director of compliance and risk management at SaTH, said: "We hope to start the work next month to coincide with the ongoing work on the houses.
"We'll be moving the Doctors' Mess to the dining area which is inside the hospital and a lot more accessible for the doctors and nurses working here.
"They are often working alone at night so now they'll have a modern space they can all congregate and socialise."