Nurses urge Gov to continue a flexible childcare trial

QUEENSLAND'S nurses are urging the Federal Government to continue a trial of flexible childcare in the state, and the state government to create childcare centres in hospitals to help nurses keep caring for patients.

The Queensland Nurses Union has urged a Productivity Commission inquiry into childcare to recommend a review of current childcare arrangements for shift workers including nurses.

After the previous Federal Government established a $5.5 million flexible childcare trial in 2013, the union has urged the current government to continue it across regional Queensland.

The trial included extended week-day care, overnight care and more flexible hours for nurses working long hours doing shift work in the state's public and private hospitals.

But while take-up during the trial was "varied", the union said it was one part of ensuring nurses could meet shift work demands by ensuring their children were looked after.

"Currently in Queensland, private sector centres do not provide services that meet the needs of continuous shift workers," the QNU submission reads/

"However, we believe that it makes good policy sense to consider public hospitals as potential sites for extended hours' childcare centres in those areas where there is a demand for after hours services."

The submission argued that nurses would benefit by being able to access childcare services, while the public health system would save money through "a reduction in training costs associated with absences, staff turnover and the loss of corporate knowledge".

A final report from the commission's inquiry into childcare is expected to be given to the federal government in October this year.

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