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Hospital staff protest against closure of on-site nurseries

Nurse retention may be at risk as staff struggling with rising living costs face extra pressure to find alternative childcare in south London, says Unison

Nurse retention may be at risk as staff struggling with rising living costs face extra pressure to find alternative childcare in south London, says Unison

The closure of two workplace nurseries used by hospital staff could force nurses and others to quit, a union has warned as staff held a protest against their impending closure.

Nursery closure will leave nurses struggling to find affordable childcare

Cedar House Nursery and King’s College Hospital Day Nursery, used by staff at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, are due to close next year when the building they share is redeveloped.

Nurse retention may be at risk as staff struggling with rising living costs face extra pressure to find alternative childcare in south London, says Unison

Staff, supporters and children at a protest at Maudsley Hospital with placards saying Save our Nursery
Staff at King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital in London protest against the closure of two on-site nurseries

The closure of two workplace nurseries used by hospital staff could force nurses and others to quit, a union has warned as staff held a protest against their impending closure.

Nursery closure will leave nurses struggling to find affordable childcare

Cedar House Nursery and King’s College Hospital Day Nursery, used by staff at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, are due to close next year when the building they share is redeveloped.

Unison says nurses and other health workers depend on the well-used facilities and will struggle to find affordable childcare elsewhere if an alternative is not provided.

Both nurseries are set to close at the end of August 2023 as part of a £120 million redevelopment of the Maudsley Hospital site in south London.

Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton was among those who took part in a protest on Tuesday 19 April outside the nursery building, which was also attended by MP for Dulwich and West Norwood Helen Hayes.

‘The NHS is under huge pressure and trust managers should be doing all they can to hold onto staff,’ said Ms Gorton.

‘Closing essential support services will place immense stress on employees forced to look for alternative childcare. Others may well quit for jobs elsewhere.’

Providing childcare and flexible working arrangements are seen as key to retaining nurses with children and other caring responsibilities.

The threatened loss of the nurseries also comes as nurses and other NHS staff face huge increases in the cost of living that have left some struggling to make ends meet.

Trust says it is looking for alternative provision during five-year closure

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust said it was seeking alternatives and was currently exploring the feasibility of an established nursery company providing childcare for staff during the five years the facility is expected to be out of action.

‘We will be building a brand-new nursery with outdoor space as part of the new development,’ said a spokesperson.

‘We have met with and remain in close contact with everyone directly affected. We are continuing to support those staff who need urgent childcare places.’

King’s College Hospital, which rents space in the building for its nursery, said South London and Maudsley had recently confirmed this would no longer be possible from September.

‘We are currently looking at options available to us, and King’s staff using the service have been informed,’ said a spokesperson.


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