New nursery planned for hospital

HEALTH chiefs have told how plans for a new cr�che could not have come at a better time - because the number of its own staff going on maternity leave is to rise by more than 50% this year.

Laurence Cawley

HEALTH chiefs have told how plans for a new cr�che could not have come at a better time - because the number of its own staff going on maternity leave is to rise by more than 50% this year.

Work on the cr�che, which will be housed behind the day surgery unit and eye treatment centre at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, is now underway.

Managers at the Hardwick Lane hospital are hoping the 96-place cr�che - which has been in the planning process for 10 years - will not only help it attract new staff to the hospital but will also be built in time for its own staff when they return from maternity leave later next year.


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Jan Bloomfield, director of workforce and communications at West Suffolk Hospital, told how the number of staff going on maternity leave this year will be up about 50%.

The cause of the increase - from about 40 to more than 60 - is a mystery to trust bosses.

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Mrs Bloomfield, who first presented plans for the cr�che to the trust board when she was eight months' pregnant 10 years ago, said: “It seems that in a recession more people go on maternity leave. In some areas, such as surgery, the increase is more than double.

“I am hoping people leaving to go on maternity leave might come back early because of the cr�che facility.”

She said recruiting staff remained a problem at the hospital and she hoped the cr�che would prove a draw with prospective candidates.

“We are committed to attracting the best possible staff to work at the hospital,” Mrs Bloomfield said. “The new cr�che will act as an extra incentive to those with young children, who otherwise may struggle to find convenient childcare while working in very busy roles.”

The cr�che has been fully funded by the Busy Bees group, which will run the nursery once work is complete.

Lynn Woodward, managing director at Busy Bees, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with West Suffolk Hospital to provide quality childcare to their employees within a fantastic new purpose-built facility.

“The cr�che will create 40 new jobs, which will be recruited locally.”

Once construction is complete next autumn, the cr�che will cater for pre-school children up to the age of five.

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