Home Office denies telling nurses to vacate York hotel rooms for asylum seekers

Google Images pic of York Hospital
York Hospital. Credit: Google

Home Office officials have denied telling nurses to vacate hotel rooms in York to make way for asylum seekers.

The York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust currently uses rooms at two hotels to accommodate overseas nurses taking UK exams.

Trust bosses said they had been given notice that both hotels had been block-booked for asylum seekers, as the UK struggles to deal with the numbers of people arriving via the Channel on small boats.

More than 40,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel to the UK so far this year. Credit: Johan BEN AZZOUZ/Maxppp/PA Images

They said the decision had left the hospital "in a very vulnerable position".

In response, the Home Office denied it had given nurses notice to leave – but did not dispute the claims the hotels would be used to house those seeking asylum.

A spokesperson said: "The claim that we have given notice to nurses to leave their accommodation is untrue.

"We are working with the local authority to source appropriate accommodation for asylum seekers and to mitigate the impact on the community, like the NHS trust.

"The use of hotels to house asylum seekers is unacceptable – there are currently more than 37,000 asylum seekers in hotels costing the UK taxpayer £5.6million a day."

Polly McMeekin, workforce director at the hospitals trust, stood by the claim that the trust had been told to find alternative accommodation for overseas nurses.

She said the recruitment of nurses from abroad was "a key part of our workforce strategy due to a shortage of nurses within the UK".

"Unfortunately there is a shortage of accommodation in York and the cancellation of our current rooms puts our ability to host our overseas nurses at risk," she added.

"We are exploring every possible alternative option however this has left us with an uncertain future as we struggle to find appropriate alternative accommodation."

York City Council was one of a number of local authorities told last month that hotels would be used for asylum seekers.

At the time, Cllr Darryl Smalley, executive member for communities, called for extra government support. He said: "Whilst we welcome those in need, the Government needs to recognise the pressure placed on local authorities where statutory services and extra support must be provided.

"Additional financial assistance for local authorities like York must be forthcoming from the government."

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