[T]rainee GPs from London medical schools have had the opportunity to work in West Cumbria thanks to new accommodation that has been provided as a partnership between Allerdale Borough Council, Impact Housing and the NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commission Group.
The house, which is on Harrington Road in Workington, was renovated with the purpose of providing trainee GPs and other healthcare professionals from across the country the chance to train away from home for a period of time, allowing them to gain experience in both living and working within the communities of Cumbria.
Impact Housing provided the house for the project, with Allerdale Borough Council funding a significant amount of the works, as well as covering rent payments for the guests. Sponsors Fred Story, Bill Dobie, G & A M Lawson, Listers, Jeff Taylor’s, Genesis, G & D Macbeth & Son and the Sellafield Snowball Fund also contributed equipment and furnishings for the house.
Dr Hannah Lowi Jones stayed at the house for six months. She said: “I really enjoyed my time in West Cumbria and would come again if I had the chance! It has been refreshing and motivating to work within an area with a high demand for care with limited secondary care support. It’s an excellent opportunity to see how different healthcare needs and provision can be outside of London and urban areas.
“Due to the difficulties with accessing secondary care, you are supported by the practice and community to manage more complex conditions within primary care, which has been an excellent learning experience. This has also helped me to think more flexibly around how to provide and access care. I have been welcomed into an extremely supportive surgery who have encouraged me to gain wide-ranging experience in all sectors of care they manage and have helped with further training.
“There are opportunities to get your boots on and spend time with mountain rescue, work within drug and alcohol clinics and palliative care. I have particularly enjoyed the evenings which I have spent exploring the coastal paths, fells, lakes and pubs!
“The accommodation in Workington was a great base to help me move to Cumbria and explore. It would be very difficult to come for a short time without the help of rent. The house was spacious, clean and comfortable.”
Dr Temba Mudariki, who also lived in the property, added: “Working in West Cumbria has drastically changed my perception of the many untold opportunities available in rural areas. West Cumbria is in the top 30 ranking 22 according to uSwitch’s ‘Best Places to Live’. The area also provides many opportunities to people wishing to access opportunities in healthcare.”
Carni McCarron-Holmes, Allerdale Borough Council’s Executive Member for Housing, Health and Wellbeing, comments: “I am absolutely delighted with the success of the project so far. One of the Council’s key priorities is to improve health and wellbeing in the local area, so we were eager to get on board.
“It’s important to show those outside the area what we have to offer, however this can often be difficult for people to leave their homes due to financial ties. This opportunity allows medical professionals to come to our area and experience both the benefits of living and working here, plus the issues we face. I hope to see many more trainees take up the opportunity and potentially return to Cumbria full time in the future.”
Mark Costello, Chair of Impact Housing, added: ‘Impact is delighted to be involved in a scheme that will encourage new GPs to work and live in West Cumbria and we are keen to be involved in similar projects in the future.”