Queen’s Hospital considers closing nursery for staff’s children

Staff at Queen’s Hospital are upset following the announcement of proposals to close the site’s nursery.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust operates a nursery for the children of its employees at the hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford.

The trust has sent parents a letter announcing a consultation is to be held with a view to closing the nursery by September.

It says the facility is operating at a loss - this year expected to be around �214,000 - and money would be better spent on healthcare provision.

Employees and their families are worried about finding childcare which will enable them to continue with their work.

One man, whose wife works at Queen’s, said: “We have got no alternative means of childcare. I’ve looked into getting our daughter a place somewhere else but there is nothing available.

“The only alternative is for my wife to leave work.”

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A Queen’s worker said: “Another nursery will make it a lot more difficult for me.

“With the on-site nursery you don’t have to worry.”

One parent, whose daughter goes to the nursery, said: “Some parents will no doubt have to seek re-employment due to other nurseries not being able to cater for their shift patterns, or move to different positions.”

A 30-day consultation is being carried out by the trust, after which a final decision will be made.

A trust spokesman said: “While we are committed to supporting parents and carers, we need to ensure that our focus remains on patient care, particularly in this difficult financial climate.

“The nursery is making a loss – expected to be around �214,000 this year. That money could be used on direct patient care.

“However, we are consulting with nursery employees and trust staff who have children there before any decision is made.

“If the nursery is closed, we will try to ensure that the staff are re-employed elsewhere in the trust and will work with local nurseries to ensure there is availability for the children of trust staff.

“We would also draw up plans to use the nursery building for patient services.”