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Hostel owner Paul McMullan of The Castle Inn in Dover takes in foreign nurses in NHS's covid battle

A pub and Youth Hostel has opened its doors to foreign nurses to help the NHS's Covid-19 battle.

The Castle Inn at Dover has agreed to temporarily house up to seven hospital workers to cover for sick nurses in Kent hospitals.

Castle Inn owner Paul McMullan with nurse Julius Iyamu who is staying there while he works at Deal Hospital as part of the wider covid effort. Picture Paul McMullan
Castle Inn owner Paul McMullan with nurse Julius Iyamu who is staying there while he works at Deal Hospital as part of the wider covid effort. Picture Paul McMullan

Owner Paul McMullan picked up French National Julius Iyamu, originally from Nigeria, from Dover Priory on Sunday before he began his first shift at Victoria Memorial Hospital in Deal that day.

He had travelled down from Manchester to provide cover at the London Road hospital.

Mr McMullan, whose pub and 30 bed hostel has been closed throughout lockdown, said: "It came about through a nursing agency tasked with filling the gap made by Covid.

"They couldn't find a hotel anywhere near Deal Victoria hospital or Kent Community Hospital in Herne Bay. Although it's a long way to come we said it's fine.

"Everyone has been doing their bit to help by staying home but the problem has been there has been no where for the extra nurses to stay so l made the decision to open our doors."

"When I had a chance to hep I thought I would in this small way..."

His dormitories usually fit six beds and each are charged at £17 per night, but to allow for Covid safe practices he agreed that just one person should be in each room. He has also kept the price the same instead of setting a new rate that covers the deficit.

He said: "My cousin died of Covid 19 so I take this pretty seriously and when I had a chance to hep I thought I would in this small way."

"The hostel is practising extra sanitising plus there is a separate entrance than Mr Iyamu is using.

"He wearsmask when he leaves his room and he is the only person to use his toilet and shower, in the past that would have been used by six people."

Mr McMullan says the virus has affected his business, particularly where June and July are his busiest months where revenue made tides the business over in quieter months.

He said: "It's going to be very difficult for hostels where young backpackers and hitch-hikers used to all stay in the same room, that will take a while to come back again."

He has been contacted by Kent County Council which says the pub can apply to have wooden decking outside the seating area to extend it to allow for appropriate distancing utilising a share of an £8million budget to help businesses that have had to stay shut

In the meantime Mr McMullan awaits the next call when someone else goes sick in the locality and needs covering.

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