Along with many others, I recently graduated early from medical school in order to start working as a doctor, and assist the NHS in its efforts to manage the Covid-19 outbreak. This is clearly a very unique and unusual situation; there was no rule book or precedent for universities and hospitals to follow, and so there was initially quite a lot of uncertainty around how this transition would be managed. In the end, final-year medical students were given a choice as to whether we would like to start working early, and many of us said yes. I studied medicine in Scotland and was due to start work in Middlesbrough this August. Having agreed to begin working early, however, I was given about two weeks notice to pack up and move down south.
In the middle of this upheaval, my mum sent me a link to the Landmark Trust’s page detailing their offer of accommodation in their properties for NHS staff in need. Growing up, my family had stayed at several Landmarks, and I had enjoyed these holidays a great deal. The properties are always cosy and tend to feel like a home from home. I found that there was a property, The Pigsty, which was a commutable distance from the hospital, and so wrote to ask whether it would be possible for me to stay there. I quickly received a reply saying that the property was available, and that I would be able to stay there while starting work at Middlesbrough.
I arrived at The Pigsty on a beautifully sunny day. I’d researched the property beforehand (it has a very interesting history), and in real life it certainly presents an impressive picture. It’s set on the edge of the North York Moors by the coast, and there are spectacular views across the fields out to the sea. Walking into the building, I was welcomed by the pleasing familiarity of the Landmark Trust decor, which certainly helped me to feel a bit more settled and comfortable with the move to a new hospital in a new country.
Writing this, I have just finished my first week working as a doctor. I have been allocated A&E, and will be working there for the next few months. The staff I’m working with are very supportive; I have been very impressed by how the department, and indeed the hospital as a whole, has prepared itself to deal with the virus so quickly.
Towards the end of the week, one of my new neighbours knocked on my door and presented me with a home-baked cake, which was delicious and went down very well with the rest of the A+E staff. I start my days with a cup of tea, looking out to the sea across the fields, and when I come back from work I can sit by the fire with a book. The Landmark Trust’s offer to stay in The Pigsty really has made my transition to work a great deal more manageable, and I am very grateful to them for this.
Many thanks to this frontline NHS worker for writing this piece for us within their busy schedule. We’re so glad our buildings offer such respite for our NHS guests, and grateful to local communities for welcoming them. To reassure customers and colleagues, the NHS stays are being planned to complete in good time before we re-open Landmarks for holidays, allowing us to follow the very latest Government guidance on safety measures in addition to our usual rigorous cleaning practices.
The view across the hills towards the sea