Staff ‘devastated’ as nurseries at Hartlepool and Stockton hospitals are set to close

The University Hospital of Hartlepool
The University Hospital of Hartlepool

STAFF at two hospital nurseries have been given 90-days notice and told that the facilities are closing after it became “uneconomic to run”.

Around 20 members of staff, including nursery nurseries, are affected at the Rainbow Day Nursery, at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Around 40 staff are affected at its counterpart nursery at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

There are 178 childcare places across the two sites.

The Mail understands the workers were called into a meeting with a North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust human resources manager on Wednesday night who told them they were being given 90 days notice and the facilities are to close.

Union slams health trust’s decision to close nurseries at the Hartlepool and Stockton hospitals

Staff are entering a 30-day consultation period and will be given one-to-one sessions with management.

There is potential to redeploy staff elsewhere in the trust, but staff say they are concerned that as they are trained nursery nurses there will be no other positions to fill.

One worker who contact the Mail said: “We are devastated, absolutely devastated and shocked.

“There has been a lot of tears.

“They couldn’t really give us any answers as to why.”

The nursery provides creche facilities primarily for hospital staff’s children, aged from six weeks old up to seven, though it is also open to families in the wider community and is open from 7.30am-5.30pm.

A trust spokeswoman confirmed: “North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is to close both of its nurseries by the end of 2014.

“The decision has been made after a comprehensive review of the service which has become uneconomic to run.

“Fifty four full and part time staff are affected.

“A staff consultation has begun and the trust is in the process of contacting parents to inform them of the closure and enable them to make alternative childcare arrangements.”

Trust chief executive Alan Foster said: “It’s vital to stress that this decision is not in any way a reflection of the quality of our nursery staff who provide an excellent service.

“However in these difficult times we cannot continue to offer a service which spends more than it brings in and therefore has to be subsidised with support from frontline healthcare budgets.”