A new initiative is underway to help tackle Cumbria's GP shortage, encouraging trainees from London to work in the region.
Those studying at medical schools in the capital are being offered accommodation through a partnership between Allerdale council, Impact Housing and NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commission Group (CCG).
They have renovated a house in Harrington Road to give trainee GPs and other healthcare professionals the chance to train away from home for a period of time, allowing them to gain vital experience.
Impact provided the property, while Allerdale funded most of the work and is covering rent payments.
Dr Hannah Lowi Jones was one of the first to use the accommodation.
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."
Hannah is now urging others to come to Cumbria to train and work.
She added: “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.”
Dr Temba Mudariki, who also lived in the property, said: “Working in west Cumbria has drastically changed my perception of the many untold opportunities available in rural areas.
"The area also provides many opportunities to people wishing to access opportunities in healthcare.”
Carni McCarron-Holmes, Allerdale's executive member for housing, health and wellbeing, said the project is already a success.
She added: "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.”
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