An NHS trust in Cumbria has appointed two working mothers in a co-ordinator
job-share to improve childcare for staff and help get mothers back into work.
The North Cumbria Mental Health and Learning Disabilities NHS Trust has
created the new position to help develop childcare provision for its 6,000
The trust’s director of HR, Shirley Chipperfield, explained the new role was
designed to combat a rise in staff shortages and cut hiring costs by
encouraging more women to return to work after maternity leave.
"In one hospital we had 60 staff on maternity leave and it was causing
staffing problems and high costs in agency fees.
Many staff leave and don’t come back, but hopefully this will provide a
point of contact for all issues around childcare," she explained.
The co-ordinators will compile a database of local childcare for NHS staff,
liaise with private and local authority nurseries and maintain a dialogue with
staff to ensure their needs are being met.
Chipperfield said: "The two ladies appointed have babies so they
understand the problems facing staff with children. We are an isolated county
and finding nurseries can be difficult."
The scheme received fundingfrom the NHS Executive and Chipperfield believes
it will save the trust money in the long term.
"Even if we can get a handful of staff back to work, the project will
be worth it. By getting just two physios back after maternity we will have paid
for the whole thing," she said.