NBMLHD seeks external operator for Nepean Hospital ECEC service - staff have concerns
The Sector > Practice > Long Day Care > NBMLHD seeks external operator for Nepean Hospital ECEC service – staff have concerns

NBMLHD seeks external operator for Nepean Hospital ECEC service – staff have concerns

by Freya Lucas

November 28, 2022

Staff at Somerset Cottage, an early childhood education and care (ECEC) service on the grounds of Nepean Hospital, are facing an uncertain future following the appointment of an external operator for the service. 


The Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD) first opened an ECEC service in 1991, and a new purpose-built centre was officially opened in 2020 as part of the $550 million Stage 1 redevelopment of the hospital.


Staff at the service were recently told that a tender has gone out for the service to move from the direct management of NBMLHD to a private operator, and that while they could be kept on there is no guarantee, with the only offer at the moment being to go through the redundancy process.


Staff then reached out to Penrith Valley Community Unions, with Chairperson Peter Mason speaking on their behalf, telling local paper Western Weekender that “they wanted to speak out but are unable to due to the confidentiality clauses within their employment, so they have reached out to me.”


Mr Mason said the staff are feeling “disappointed and also angry as they believe it may be due to financial trouble and they think selling it off in a sense isn’t the answer”. 


With the tender process closing on 2 January 2023, many feel anxious about spending Christmas worrying about whether they will have a job or not in the new year. 


The Western Weekender reached out to NBMLHD Director Hospital Services Brett Williams for a response. He confirmed that NDMLHD was seeking expressions of interest from ECEC service operators but did not comment on financial issues or the involvement of redundancy packages.


“We recognise professional early childhood services, onsite and those off campus, are essential for many of our staff to balance work and parenting responsibilities,” Mr Williams said.


“By having early childhood education services conducted by an experienced external provider, NBMLHD can redirect resources to its core business of healthcare.”


Mr Williams also confirmed that all children currently enrolled at the service, or on the waiting list, will not lose their place throughout the process. 


“When an alternate provider is selected, we will ensure services are not disrupted during the changeover.”


To read the original coverage of this story, please see here

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