A DOCTOR who was kicked out of his rented accommodation in Oxford because his landlady was afraid he would give her the coronavirus has called on the public to support NHS workers.

Joseph Alsousou, 43, is a surgeon working between the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and the John Radcliffe.

He had been lodging at a house in Headington on weekdays since August, but last weekend was told to leave by his landlady, who said she was anxious he might bring the Covid-19 bug into the home.

Mr Alsousou said he left for his family home in the Wirral last Wednesday night ‘almost in tears’ at what had happened.

He has now called for more support for NHS workers as they face unparalleled demand.

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Mr Alsousou said: “At time of crisis the worst and best in people come out. Kicking NHS workers out of their residence is not acceptable at time when the country needs to stand behind the NHS.

“Measures need to be taken to stop this ever happening. On the other hand, most people have been very kind and supportive and I am sure they will continue to be so.”

The surgeon said he was originally given 28 days’ notice by his landlady by email last weekend.

He arrived at the Headington home where he rents a room from her on Monday and spoke to her about her worries.

Mr Alsousou said he tried to reassure his landlady the virus was low risk to her.

He said: “Before she asked me to leave, she said she was anxious about the virus. As a doctor, I said ‘you are fit and healthy and you don’t have any medical conditions, the chances are it will be very minor’.”

But when Mr Alsousou came home the following evening, she was waiting in the dining room for him and said she wanted him to leave as soon as he possibly could.

The surgeon added: “At that point, I could not see myself staying in the house.”

On Wednesday night, he packed up all his things into the boot of his car and drove three hours back to his family home – where his wife and children live – in Heswall in the Wirral.

Oxford Mail:

The boot of Mr Alsousou's car, packed ready to leave his lodgings for home in the Wirral.

He said: “I went home because I had nowhere else to stay. I drove all the way back from Oxford to Wirral nearly in tears to be honest. I was thinking if I could have done something differently to reassure her.”

Since going home, other members of staff have had to help cover some of Mr Alsousou’s shifts while he searched for a new place to stay, and after he posted about the events on Twitter, people across south east England have offered him a temporary place to stay.

This week, he has been able to stay with a friend and he has also found new weekday lodgings in Horspath.

He said: “When I spoke to the people offering places to stay over the phone or at the viewings I had, I said to them I worked for the NHS to make sure I didn’t have the same experience as before.

“All of them were very surprised actually. The lady I am now renting from said she would rather have a doctor in the house in this situation.”

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He also said he was refunded two week's of rent by his former landlady and was given his deposit back in full.

Mr Alsousou said all elective surgery had been cancelled for him and his colleagues, with only emergency operations taking place to free up capacity in hospitals as the demand due to the coronavirus increases.

Mr Alsousou's former landlady spoke under the condition of anonymity.

She said she had severe health anxiety and was 'under strong recommendation from her doctor not to share work surfaces'.

She added: "As we shared a kitchen and a bathroom it wasn't possible for him to remain in the house without it affecting my own health."

Ian McKendrick, Communications officer for Oxfordshire UNISON Health branch said people were 'being pushed into intolerable situations where they are having to choose between protecting themselves and helping with the efforts to maintain the NHS'. 

He added: "They should not be having to make choices that could impact negatively on the lives of others.  Where are the helplines for people to call to avoid such situations. 

"A lot of the problems we are seeing are entirely predictable and need planning to address.  Instead what we are seeing are confusing broad brush stroke pronouncements from government with no attention to the detail that their policies are unleashing, from homelessness, loss of income, and threats of sacking.  

"It is appalling some landlords and employers are being allowed to throw people out of work and their homes to protect their profits.  The government must intervene to guarantee peoples homes and income, and put in place help lines that have the power to act to guarantee these things."

A spokesperson for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “NHS England and NHS Improvement have established a process for hard working NHS staff to secure accommodation at hotels within their immediate area, if they have been affected by COVID-19 in some way.”

More guidance from the government on accommodation for hospital workers can be found by visiting england.nhs.uk/coronavirus