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More nurses concerned at accommodation

By This is Exeter  |  Posted: April 13, 2009

Saturday's Echo

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MORE nurses have spoken out against the quality of accommodation at the city's main hospital.

As revealed in the Echo, nurses are paying hundreds of pounds a month to stay in what they claim is dirty and dilapidated hospital accommodation.

There are no showers and only poor cooking facilities available in accommodation blocks at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital.

The RD&E claims the accommodation for nurses is adequate and regularly cleaned, and said it had not received any complaints about conditions.

But several nurses, who asked not to be named, have painted a different picture.

One said: "I lived in the nursing accommodation blocks. They are depressing and dirty.

"I had fleas in the bathroom — their solution to get rid of them was to paint over them.

"The walls were so thin you could hear everything going on in the rest of the flat. It was the most depressing year of my life."

They also argue that while other hospitals allow new nurses to stay in on-site accommodation free for six months, the RD&E charges £280 a month, rising to £360.

They claim the accommodation exacerbates their low morale after working long hours.

Another nurse who contacted the Echo said: "We are not asking for luxury — just a basic shower and an oven that takes less than two hours to warm up.

"Come on this is 2009, why are we being left in the dark ages?"

Nurses claim the accommodation has changed little in the last decade.

One said: "After reading this article, I remember my times living in the residences nine years ago.

"It sounds like things haven't changed at all in those nine years. I too remember finishing my shifts and coming back to the accommodation feeling depressed and cold because of the dismal facilities."

Each block holds eight flats, which have four bedrooms in them, a bathroom, a toilet and a kitchen. With around eight blocks, there are more than 250 staff living in the units.

A spokeswoman for the RD&E said: "We seek to provide clean, comfortable and good quality accommodation to the staff who choose to live on site.

"The accommodation is cleaned weekly; we redecorate the rooms and communal areas on an annual rolling programme and, when notified, rapidly replace broken or faulty equipment."

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