MP’s second letter to hospital chief over nursery closure

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

HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright has written a second letter to a hospital boss asking for more information on a hospital nursery that is to close.

Mr Wright wrote to hospital chief executive Alan Foster after the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust announced it was to shut the Rainbow Day Nursery in Hartlepool later this year.

Mr Foster replied, but Mr Wright says there are still unanswered questions about the nurseries finances.

Mr Wright said the letter informed him the Holdforth Road nursery, which has provided childcare to hospital staff and local parents, is only just over half full.

Last week, it emerged that the nurseries at Hartlepool and at the North Tees hospital were predicted to have cost the trust £764,000 over the last four years.

Mr Wright said: “If it is only half full it is little wonder it is losing money.

“I want to know what the trust has done to publicise the nursery facility.

“What has it done to say there are places available, especially at this time of year when parents are looking at childcare arrangements with children going back to school and starting nursery.

“I have not received any information from the trust on the income or costs of the nursery.”

Mr Wright added: “One thing I’m particularly concerned about is most people affected are in the lowest pay grade in the NHS.

“I have said in my letter to the chief executive these people have had no increases for a number of years.

“They have been affected by changes to car parking and now they have been hit by this. Childcare can be an expensive business.”

Last week, Mr Wright asked Parliament what information the Department of Health held on the number of NHS trusts that provide nursery facilities for staff and patients and how many have closed since 2010 and plan to close in the next three years.

But he was told the information is not collected centrally.

Mr Wright said: “There was no answers. It doesn’t surprise me with this government.”