Protest over plan to close Hartlepool and Stockton NHS nurseries

Protestors outside University Hospital of North Tees
Image caption Protestors gathered outside University Hospital of North Tees

Campaigners opposing the closure of two children's day nurseries on Teesside have staged a protest.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said its nurseries at Hartlepool Hospital and University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton had become uneconomic to run.

Protesters gathered at the Stockton hospital from 11:00 BST.

Unison said a consultation over the closures was "neither fair nor meaningful".

The protest was timed to coincide with a meeting of the trust's executive board.

Fifty-four full and part-time staff will be affected and they have urged the trust to reconsider its decision.

'Fixed intention'

Mark Edmundson, of Unison, said "Unison lodged a formal dispute with the trust earlier this month as this consultation is clearly neither fair nor meaningful.

"A fixed intention to close was made long before the trust fully engaged with Unison."

A North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: "We have taken the decision to close our nurseries because they are no longer economic to run.

"Because of cuts in grants we were having to subsidise the nurseries with money which should have been directed to patient care and this can no longer continue.

"We are currently having one to one discussions with the nursery staff and we are looking to redeploy staff where possible."

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