Sam Davies

What story do you think this tells?

As reported by local BBC journalist Mark Williamson, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) this week published its analysis of the quality of services at Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie Hospital. The key headline is that, despite the best endeavours of management and front-line staff, staff shortages both in clinical settings and in the social care sector are having a detrimental impact on patients’ safety and experience:

“The service did not always have enough nursing and support staff with the right qualifications, skills, training and experience to keep patients safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right care and treatment … People could not always access the service and receive the right care promptly when they needed it due to pressures on capacity.”

You can read the whole CQC report here.

Given that context, here are some data points which I think are worth reflecting on. What story do you think they tell about what’s happening in our city?

  • Addenbrooke’s is currently experiencing 20% annual turnover in its Healthcare Assistant workforce.
  • Healthcare Assistants are either in Band 2 or 3 of the NHS salary structure. The maximum take home net pay is £1352/month in Band 2 and £1426 in Band 3.
  • In the year to last September, the cost of a room in a shared house in Cambridge was £547/month and a two-bed property cost £1283/month.
  • A local landlord recently received 80 applications within 24 hours of advertising a room in an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation).
  • The period 2018 to 2021 has seen a 4.1% p.a. increase in the number of jobs created in Greater Cambridge (an estimated 12.5k new jobs, though note that not all of these will be located here). Over the same period there has been a 1.4% p.a. increase in new dwellings built.
  • The proposed re-development of the Beehive site is set to create another 5k jobs. There is no housing as part of the redevelopment

I’m sure I’m not the only person who is looking at these trends and wondering whether the continuation of an ’employment-led growth strategy’ is really what we need right now …

Sam Davies


  • Leave the Beehive centre as it is, it’s for the locals, the Grand Arcade is for the Tourists. Surely we have enough science parks, hotels, student accommodation. We are losing our local children as they cannot afford to live here, where will it end. We need more affordable accommodation to house the lower paid.

  • You need to consider that 5,000 new jobs means 10,000 new people, because only about half of the population works. Those new people then need people working in all sorts of public services and commercial businesses such as shops. Everything from healthcare workers to refuse workers and retail staff. These people themselves will need other people to support their lifestyle. I can’t find exact figures on this but I would guess you could then double the 10,000 figure to 20,000, happy to be corrected though.

    Then think of how much capital investment there needs to be in housing and facilities like shops, hospitals and schools for 20,000 people. This is equivalent to a town the size of Ely just for the Beehive jobs.

    Then think of all the other extra job expansion in Cambridge, originally 20,000 in North East Cambridge (now reduced a bit), the Bio campus, and so on all multiplied by a factor of about four. All struggling to get developers to pay for facilities which are inadequate to begin with, and which they then wriggle out of anyway. See Waterbeach Station for this week’s example.

  • The site and the retail park on the other side of Coldham’s Lane has been bought out by RailPen, the pension fund. At the public exhibition I went to (announced at *very short notice*) one of the industry people there said being an investment fund rather than debt-backed, it would be a long-term investment measured in decades. Problem is they have dismissed out of hand any concerns about housing with the single line that ‘The Local Plan has six years of housing sites available’. Even though the situation at Addenbrooke’s on housing hit the headlines six weeks ago ->

  • I agree. “I can’t see the sort of development that they are talking about going ahead without a light rail system in place.” In this week’s Cambridge Independent. The developers need to start talking to the Cambridge Connect project team because cycleway links won’t be nearly enough to get additional people who will have to move to the area (given the numbers they are talking about, and skills needed vs what the local area already has).

  • Agree, the developers and GCP who need to talk to Cambridge Connect. Busway Bob got them going in the bus direction because buses are cheaper.The trouble is it is not cheap if it doesn’t work.

  • I fear that the governent push to increase the tax-take (i.e. employment) from Cambridge is choking the area to death. Constant ‘dwelling’ building does not provide housing security for low paid workers, nor for modestly paid professionals, so it is no wonder that Addenbrookes, along with many other services, cannot recruit the personel necessary to provide the A1 outcomes we all desire.