Doctors’ homes are the perfect medicine at Telford hospital - with video and pictures
Work to renovate doctors’ accommodation at a Telford’s hospital was celebrated with a ‘thank you’ event for those who have helped with the effort.
The ongoing project to transform six houses at Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital is two thirds complete, with the third and fourth houses having been unveiled with new furniture, white goods and vibrant new colour schemes.
Once the houses are complete, they will be offered by the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) to junior and middle grade doctors for free, to help with recruitment.
The latest development was celebrated with a social event, including a barbecue on a new patio area behind the houses.
The accommodation scheme is the result of a collaboration between the hospital trust, Telford & Wrekin Council, several other town and parish councils and kind-hearted volunteers who gave up time and money to carry out the work.
Dr Jenni Rowlands, director of medical education, said: “It started with one of our foundation year one doctors, one of the doctors straight out of medical school, who described to us some of the conditions that they had when they landed here. It made us feel really sad. There was a mouldy fridge, the shower ran cold or didn’t work and it just felt really unloved.
“When we went over to try and help sort this out we realised what a big project we could do on this, but equally what a miss this was for the trust because we’re trying to attract doctors to Telford, we want doctors to come and work here and if we can’t attract them with high-quality accommodation and we show that we care, we thought that that wasn’t a great idea.”
Dr Rowlands and Dr Chris Mowatt got the ball rolling by approaching Telford & Wrekin Council late last year. Before long the renovation project was launched.
following an appeal from the council’s leader, councillor Shaun Davies, who called on businesses for help to refurbish the houses to help recruit more junior and middle tier doctors to SaTH.
Dr Mowatt said: “The quality of the accommodation is just unrecognisable to how it was and the will of people to get this done and help has been overwhelming.
“We started this thinking this was going to be difficult, it’s not been difficult at all. The will of the community, the engagement of colleagues in the council and people in the trust as well to make this happen has just meant that it’s been an unstoppable force.
“We hope that continues and what we want now to do is continue focusing on doctors and improving their wellbeing and the facilities here but also rolling back into the community and bringing the NHS and the community together.”
The hospital trust’s capital buildings officer Darren Good also attended the thank you.
He said: “I thought it was a great idea, a big challenge for us to pull it off but with a good team behind us we thought we could do it.
“It has been a learning process for both the estates team and the contractors doing the work. It was donated labour at first, some of the chaps were changing, their skills were changing, their knowledge of the buildings was changing so that was just a learning curve for everybody really.
“But once that established and information was passed between people on the job it settled down.”
Mr Good and estates manager David Chan both said they were proud to display the work so far and show off the collaborative effort.
The first two houses were completed earlier this year, and work will begin on the final two soon.
Telford & Wrekin mayor Stephen Reynolds said the renovation had been sorely needed.
He said: “We’ve just had to liaise with the hospital in a real good way.
“It brings in new junior doctors, consultants, anybody that the hospital actually needs, and having attractive premises for them to relax and live does help with the situation regarding the hospitals right across Shropshire.
“It’s just a magnificent effort between the hospitals and Telford & Wrekin Council.
“Comparing it to what it was like originally it was in an horrendous position, and how people had to live and relax in circumstances like that was beyond me.
“It was dreadful, really dreadful. Old furniture, the kitchens were sort of falling apart. The living conditions – it wasn’t very conducive to work or relaxing so it was pretty bad.
“They’ve been empty for a few years as well which didn’t help.
“It’s a wonderful exercise in collaboration to get premises up like this that are very accommodating for any new doctor who needs accommodation at this hospital.”
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.