Dr Joseph Alsousou, a surgeon at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford, who was evicted by his landlady who feared he would give her coronavirus, has created a charity website to help others like him.
Speaking on Yahoo’s lockdown video series Up Close And Socially Distant, Mr Alsousou said it was an incredibly unsettling time for him.
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“I had to leave in the middle of the night and drive home,” he told series host Kate Thornton.
“I asked my colleagues to cover me, which was, to be honest, a very upsetting experience. And for a minute, it did shake my belief in the relationship between the NHS and the public.”
Evicted because of #Coronavirus, never in my medical career I have been in this situation where people turn their back to doctors who may one day treat them. Sad and hurt but will keep calm & carry on #coronavirus #covid19UK #oxfordmail #ouh #eviction #doctors pic.twitter.com/zRCfhe0MDP— Joseph Alsousou (@JosephAlsousou) March 19, 2020
While Mr Alsousou said to some degree the fear of catching the virus is understandable, doctors and nurses are trained to reduce that risk. His experience made him realise he probably wasn’t the only one finding himself without somewhere to live.
“I drove home nearly in tears, thinking, if this is happening to other people, it would be a disaster,” he told Kate.
He also realised that the long hours forced upon NHS workers by the workload of the pandemic, meant it would be harder than ever for his colleagues to find a new place to stay, which led him to create the Rooms4NHS website.
The website, which is a charitable initiative, is run by Mr Alsousou, alongside a few other volunteers, and aims to match NHS staff with landlords offering cheap or free accommodation.
Even though his faith in the public was initially rocked by his sudden eviction, Mr Alsousou has said the response has been “amazing”.
He said: “There are still many requests coming to the website for accommodation all around the country, not just around the Nightingale hospitals in London, Manchester and Birmingham, but pretty much everywhere.
“We do need landlords to come forward, private homeowners who have a spare room or a flat in an apartment, to come forward and offer their places to NHS staff.”
He hopes the public will continue with their support so that NHS staff have one less thing to be stressed about during these unsettled times.
If you’d like to offer accommodation – or are looking for somewhere to stay – visit Rooms4NHS at www.rooms4nhs.com
Up Close And Socially Distant is hosted by Kate Thornton and features weekly video catch-ups with people who are all doing whatever they can to help those around them get through lockdown.
This week Kate speaks to Julie Graham about writing and starring in the first YouTube drama to be filmed entirely in lockdown, Dun Breedin’, to raise money for the Trussell Trust foodbank network, to the founder of the Rooms4NHS website, Dr Joseph Alsousou, and to Dublin-based mural artist, Emma Blake.