Nearly half of London nurses have considered leaving the city due to increasing house prices.
In a survey carried out by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) of more than 1000 RCN members in London, 40% expressed fears that they were being priced out of the capital and were likely to leave in the next five years.
Nearly 80% of respondents said they were worried about the cost of their accomodation with 76% saying that housing costs are now taking up a bigger share of their income than they did five years ago. A further 74% said that cuts to nursing pay has made it difficult to stay in the capital.
However, three quarters of respondents said they would be more likely to stay nursing in London if their housing needs were better met.
RCN London, regional director Bernell Bussue, said: 'This survey of London nurses shows that the spiralling cost of housing is directly contributing to the recruitment crisis faced by our region’s health service. With staffing shortages in London getting worse by the year, while patient need continues to go up, essential services are being stretched to breaking point. The new Mayor needs to show real leadership and ensure that nursing staff are able to live and work here in the numbers needed to keep patients safe.'
The RCN is calling on the new Mayor of London to deliver an action plan to support enough health staff to remain in the capital to deliver safe patient care. This includes reintroducing and strengthening London's key worker housing regulations, allowing new homes built on NHS land to be offered to low paid staff first and offering discounted travel around London.
'This important survey reinforces the problems trusts have in recruiting and retaining staff in London where housing costs continue to rise. NHS Employers and Trade Unions have made clear that we urgently need action from the new Mayor to address this issue so that we can retain a high quality healthcare workforce in the capital,' said Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Employers.
The call has been backed by major London hospitals including University College London Hospitals Foundation trust and the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.