Over 100 new homes to be built to encourage medics

Gaps between income and living costs putting health workers off the north east. Picture: Jayne Wright

Gaps between income and living costs putting health workers off the north east. Picture: Jayne Wright

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More than 100 homes could be built for health workers to encourage more medics to work in the north-east of Scotland.

The redevelopment of the Foresterhill site in Aberdeen has been deemed essential to help ease the NHS Grampian recruitment crisis which has been blamed on the cost of living in the area.

Other public service workers, including police, firefighters and teachers will be allowed to live in the affordable housing flats.

Under the plans 110 flats could be built and the existing buildings demolished.

Developers have now applied for planning permission for the housing which would be based at Foresterhill Campus, land jointly owned by NHS Grampian and Aberdeen University.

The planning application states: “It is vital that affordable housing is provided for key workers in Aberdeen, as increasing gaps between income and living costs in Aberdeen are impacting on the region’s ability to attract and retain workers.

“We strongly believe that the provision of ‘key worker’ accommodation at Foresterhill Court will help to ease affordability constraints within the area, specifically for public sector staff.”

The plans have been drafted in conjunction with Grampian Housing Association.

Gerry Lawrie, deputy director of workforce at NHS Grampian 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 working to alleviate that.”

A disused bowling green is based on the site along with overgrown allotments. The planning application states that the space is unmaintained and is littered, with the vacant club house representing an eye-sore within the hospital campus. This space is not accessible because it is surrounded by a high wall.

The plans have been drafted in conjunction with Grampian Housing Association.

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.

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