Fight to save hospital nurseries is over

The Rainbow Nursery, University Hospital of Hartlepool
The Rainbow Nursery, University Hospital of Hartlepool

CAMPAIGNERS have abandoned their bid to try to save two hospital-based nurseries threatened with closure.

Bosses at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust announced plans to close the Rainbow Day Nursery at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, and at its counterpart at North Tees in Stockton.

The two facilities would see the loss of 178 childcare places and more than 50 full and part-time jobs, including 20 at the Rainbow Day Nursery.

A campaign was launched to try to persuade the trust to change their minds, and meetings were held, protests took place and a Facebook page was launched.

But an announcement on the campaign’s Facebook profile announced that the fight was over.

It comes after trust bosses confirmed that talks with other private nursery providers to lease or buy the nurseries broke down.

A message from campaigner Deborah Ling on the Facebook page said: “It is with huge sadness that I post this message to advise you all that our campaign to save the North Tees and Hartlepool Day Nurseries has come to an end.

“Everyone involved has worked incredibly hard to try to change the trust’s decision and have followed every possible course of action available, but the outcome remains unchanged.”

She added: “For the parents, the important thing now is to secure alternative childcare for our children.

“I strongly feel that we can no longer afford to wait because it would be terrible to be left in a situation where all the local nurseries are full.

“On a personal note, I am devastated at the thought of moving my daughter. The staff at the nursery have become my friends and it breaks my heart to think I may not see them again.

“I know my daughter has grown in confidence and personality during her short time there and she will miss them immensely, as will I.

“I wish more than anything that we could have been successful.”

Mark Edmunson, Unison area organiser who was involved with the campaign, also took to Facebook.

His message said: “I am deeply disappointed in the decision made by the trust to close the nurseries; particularly in the way the trust conducted itself in terms of consultation and their total disregard for people who could potentially have explored other avenues as an alternative to closure.

“Perhaps the trust may think twice now before taking a decision to close before engaging in consultation.”

Ann Burrell, director of human resources and education at the trust said: “We have met with several private nursery providers with a view to leasing or purchasing our nurseries. Unfortunately we have been unable to secure a positive outcome from these discussions.”