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Minister's call for nursery spaces

PUBLISHED: 14:00 20 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:33 03 March 2010

MORE nursery spaces should be created to make it easier for mums to return to work - that was the message today from the minister for women on a visit to Ipswich.

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By Paul Geater Political Editor . . . paul.geater@ecng.co.uk

MORE nursery spaces should be created to make it easier for mums to return to work – that was the message today from the minister for women on a visit to Ipswich.

Baroness Sally Morgan visited the Hunnitots Nursery at Ipswich Hospital, an initiative aimed at encouraging health service staff to return to work after having children.

"This kind of thing is vital for an organisation like the Health Service, where two thirds of the workforce are women," said Baroness Morgan.

She met mums and hospital officials – and emphasised the importance of having a workplace nursery.

"For many people returning to work, it is vital to have nursery facilities like this on site. They know that if there is an emergency they are not far away," she said.

The nursery is due to expand – the regional health authority has recently given the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust £215,000 to expand it by 37 spaces.

Baroness Morgan said single mothers and those on income support could get financial help towards childcare.

"It is absolutely vital to offer high-quality childcare if we are to attract mothers back to work," she said.

The hospital employs 3,500 people – many in part-time jobs, so the full-time equivalent staff is 2,400.

"We are very anxious not to lose the skills of women who leave to have children and this kind of initiative is vital to the future of the health service," said Baroness Morgan.

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