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Norwich hospital nursery could close

PUBLISHED: 11:00 01 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:29 02 July 2010

Dan Grimmer

Fears have been raised about the future of a Norwich hospital nursery which staff say is threatened with closure as part of cost-cutting measures.

Fledglings nursery at Norwich Community Hospital on Bowthorpe Road cares for at least 62 children between the ages of two and five.

Dan Grimmer

Fears have been raised about the future of a Norwich hospital nursery which staff say is threatened with closure as part of cost-cutting measures.

Fledglings nursery at Norwich Community Hospital on Bowthorpe Road cares for at least 62 children between the ages of two and five.

It only moved into its purpose-built premises last year and in December it opened its doors to non-NHS parents for the first time.

It is run by Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCH&C), part of NHS Norfolk, and bosses there say there has been no “definite decision” to close the nursery but admit it is “under review”.

But nursery staff, as well as parents of children who attend, are devastated by the prospect of its closing down.

Adrian Ing, from the Eastern Region Royal College of Nursing, said: “Nurses are very distressed by this news. There is an understanding that this is to do with finances.

“The nursery was set up so NHS staff could go to work and leave their children in a safe environment. These needs have not changed. In fact there are more beds at the community hospital now than before so there is a greater need for the nursery.

“Some nurses are literally saying they cannot work if they have this service taken away. The RCN would be incredibly disappointed if this is happening to save money.

“We will do all we can to ensure parents are not deprived of the right to have their children cared for while they work.”

The nursery has a fully qualified and experienced team of staff and offers full-day or half-day sessions, split into different age groups, to ensure children get the level of care and activities suited to their age range.

It also has two gardens for the different age ranges where the staff are able to offer exploratory, sensory, physical and creative activities.

Each child has activities and experiences planned for individual needs so staff can ensure they develop as much as possible while under their care.

Julia Whiting, Norfolk Community Health and Care's assistant director of children's and families, said nursery provision at Fledglings was being reviewed.

She said: “No decision has been made to close Fledglings. This is part of a wider NCH&C periodic service review.

“We have informed staff and parents about this review and made a commitment to continue to consult openly with them about any findings from this review.”

**Do you have a health story for the Evening News? Call Sarah Hall on 01603 772426 or email sarah.hall2@archant.co.uk

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