Cash boost for NHS staff childcare

The
Government is to spend an extra £6m on its NHS childcare strategy in an effort
to recruit and retain hospital staff.

On
top of the £70m already announced for on-site nurseries, the new cash for this
current year will allow staff to book places in after-school clubs, holiday
play schemes and with childminders. All staff will benefit, including GPs and
members of the primary care team, junior doctors and those in part-time work.

The
workplace nursery strategy will be extended to provide subsidised childcare to
parents of school age children, as well as to those staff who face particular
problems, such as when they return from maternity leave or who need emergency
or out of hours childcare.

Health
Minister John Hutton said: "We need to provide childcare support for
parents working in the NHS. Over a quarter of our staff have dependent
children, so it is essential that we extend access to affordable childcare.
This will benefit patients as well as staff because better childcare provision
is key to recruiting and retaining extra staff and that means better patient
care."

Funding
of more than £70m over three years is available to build around 150 on-site
nurseries with places subsidised at an average of £30 per place, per week.

The
NHS Childcare Strategy, which is part of the Improving Working Lives programme,
will create around a further 7,500 new subsidised on-site nursery places in 150
schemes over the three years to 2004.

So
far, 90 new nursery schemes are being funded and 70 childcare co-ordinators are
in post with recruitment continuing. All staff will have access to a childcare
co-ordinator by April 2003 to help and support parents working in the NHS.

By Paul Nelson

Comments are closed.