DEMORALISED doctors and nurses at Haringey's only hospital are fighting to stay in their on-site homes as the date for their eviction draws near.

Shocked employees of Oak House at St Ann's Hospital, in Tottenham, are angry no warning was given from health bosses before opening a letter to find they would be losing their homes and argue it is vital for them to be housed on site.

Residents received the letter on June 30 and must be out of their homes by Monday, August 30.

Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust plans to turn the long-time staff residence into a recovery centre for patients diagnosed with with a psychotic illness suffering a short-term crisis. The centre would be staffed 24 hours a day.

Fearful of speaking out as individuals, staff supporting their colleagues have joined an anonymous campaign group, Save St Ann's Hospital Tottenham, which has been supported by both of Haringey's MPs.

A spokesman for the group said: "Staff have tried to discuss the matter with their bosses, who have not listened to a word that was said. If they treat staff like this, people should worry about their attitude to clients and patients.

"Oak Lodge has always been staff accommodation and is not fit to house patients in crisis who need treatment for severe mental health problems."

The decision has sparked rumours that buildings and wards at St Ann's Hospital, in St Ann's Road, are being condensed so portions of the land can be sold to developers to raise money.

The mental health trust disputed the claims that staff had not been listened to, stating that there had been no representation in the first instance.

In a letter to the trust, Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone wrote: "None of the residents were aware of any consultation at staff level, and are shocked at the apparent lack of care for staff or clear strategic vision for patients."

She added: "The question being asked by staff is whether these purpose-built spaces could not be brought back into use, or new sites found in the area, instead of converting this into a new patient facility, which would result in crisis patients being in one place again, but staff, who could attend to them, dispersed."

The Liberal Democrat said maintaining staff accommodation was vital as there were currently no places available for key workers in Haringey, and no projects underway.

The mental health trust said several locations were considered for the recovery centre and concluded Oak House was the best option.

Lee Bojtor, chief operating officer, said: "Staff accommodation at the St Ann’s site is a low priority for us, and does not feature in our plans for the future. Staff accommodation is intended as a short-term solution only, and the low demand for it at St Ann’s means that staff accommodation is effectively being subsidised with money intended for patient care."

He added: "It will also mean that we spend money intended for patient care on services for local people, rather than on staff accommodation."

Residents were offered alternative accommodation at Chase Farm Hospital and two tenants have been allowed to stay on because of personal circumstances.