Housing costs in London are driving nurses out of the capital, and major hospitals including Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust are calling for the new Mayor of London to do something about it.

Four in 10 London nurses expect to leave the capital by 2021 because they can’t afford the housing costs, according to a survey by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

More than three-quarters (79 per cent) of members of the RCN say they are worried about the cost of accommodation, and 76 per cent agree housing costs take up a bigger share of their income than five years ago.

However, three-quarters of respondents said they would be more likely to stay nursing in London if their needs were better met.

Claire Champion, Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust’s director of nursing and clinical quality, said: "We highly value our local nursing workforce who are from the community we serve, and who have joined us from around the UK, Europe and further afield.


“We want them to have the opportunity to build life-long careers living and working in our capital city.

"Sadly too many nurses feel a career in London is not a viable option for them, and are leaving in order to afford homes that suit their long-term needs.

"We urgently need to address the housing and social needs of nurses by developing and prioritising a variety of key worker accommodation for them, to ensure we can attract and retain a stable nursing workforce now and in the future."

The RCN says the new Mayor of London can help address these issues by taking action to reintroduce and strengthen key worker housing regulations.

They are also calling for the new Mayor to offer new homes built on NHS land to low-paid NHS staff first and to offer discounted travel for London health staff.

RCN London’s 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."