Organisation first to match UK health workers with accommodation

by Chris Fairbairn

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Free service to help frontline staff find vital places to rest

Headshot image of Scott Mitchell, Managing Director of Surgeons Quarter

CLINICAL and medical staff battling the COVID-19 pandemic are being offered a helping hand from a travel agent to find free accommodation near to their places of work.

Surgeons Quarter Travel is also calling on any accommodation provider willing to provide free beds to frontline workers to get in touch to be added to its growing directory.

It comes after the 129-room hotel operated by Surgeons Quarter, Ten Hill Place, recently reached and exceeded 1000 free room nights provided to frontline workers at Edinburgh’s hospitals during the pandemic response.

As the commercial arm of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), its recently launched travel agency utilises Hays Travel’s platforms – as well as harnessing its extensive links throughout the UK’s hospitality sector.

Scott Mitchell, Managing Director at Surgeons Quarter, said: “Anything we can do to use our travel agency skills and tools to help those saving lives is a privilege.

We heard horror stories of members of the College (RCSEd) – surgeons performing life changing procedures – unceremoniously evicted from paid accommodation.

But we also know that, just like our own hotel in the Scottish capital, there are providers out there willing to volunteer free stays near to hospitals and clinics. We are building a special directory and in regular contact with those in this position.

As well as hearing from heroic workers we want to hear from any type of accommodation provider, be it a hotel, B and B or rental, who is willing to offer rooms, to enable us to match up as many deserving people as possible.”

Since opening its doors on Friday 20 March to help clinical and medical staff at the capital’s hospitals, Ten Hill Place – Edinburgh’s largest independent hotel – has witnessed a hugely positive response. It is also providing a packed continental breakfast as well as a free evening meal, provided by its award-winning catering team.

The hotel, owned by The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) and operated by Surgeons Quarter, is located less than a mile from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and three miles from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Surgeons Quarter Travel was founded in January following its teams’ extensive training at Hays Travel head office in Sunderland in late 2019. It has appointed its former guest services manager, Justin MacKenzie as the lead agent, thanks to his 12 years experience in the sector prior to joining Surgeons Quarter.

Typically, it organises flights, accommodation and transport for RCSEd members, as well as being available to the roughly 50,000 delegates who will typically attend around 2000 Surgeons Quarter hosted events in a normal year.

As a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 event, it took the decision to broaden its remit to help any medical or clinical workers, providing a free service during the emergency response.

Workers and accommodation providers are encouraged to contact Surgeons Quarter Travel directly, on travel@surgeonsquarter.com

Surgeons Quarter promotes, sells and manages all commercial activities held within the RCSEd campus. All profits support the charitable aims of the College which are education, assessment and advancement in surgical standards worldwide.

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Chris Fairbairn of Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

Chris Fairbairn

Chris Fairbairn is an Account Director with award-winning public relations agency Holyrood PR. He is part of an expert PR team delivering PR services to a wide range of clients from headquarters in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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