Flexible working - supporting working women


03 / 02 / 2009

  • SHA region
  • The organisation
  • What we did and why
  • How we did it
  • The results and next steps
  • Contact details and further information
  • SHA region

    Yorkshire & the Humber

    The organisation

    Barnsley Hospital Foundation Trust

    What we did and why

    'It's alright to be a midwife and have a family life.' That, thinks Julie Scarfe, Head of Midwifery and Patient Services at Barnsley Hospital Foundation Trust, is one of the great shifts in attitude within midwifery over the last generation. 'There's now an ethos of supporting working women.'

    Part of that support at Barnsley is the childcare co-ordination service which assists parents in finding childcare, and can arrange emergency childcare when something unforeseen gets in the way of existing arrangements. The Childcare Co-ordinator advises and acts for staff across secondary and primary sectors within the Trust area, and organises regular 'keeping in touch' sessions with women on maternity leave. A workplace nursery is about to open on the hospital site.

    How we did it

    Childcare support helps to sustain a culture of flexible working at the hospital. Some 90% of the team of over 100 midwives work some form of flexible pattern, including 12 hour shifts on the labour ward that reduce the number of days worked and can improve continuity of care for women.

    Flexible work and career patterns are not restricted to staff with young families. The Trust offers carer leave for staff looking after older dependents, encourages secondments, and enables employment breaks for travel or other reasons. Currently, two midwives at the hospital are on one year employment breaks. They are covered by staff recruited onto temporary contracts which, based on previous experience with cover arrangements, may develop into permanent posts as other vacancies arise.

    The results and next steps

    To date, and with a flexible approach to working firmly established in the culture, recruitment of midwives has not been a problem at the hospital.

    Contact details and further information

    For further information please contact Julie Scarfe, Head of Midwifery/Patient Services Manager.

    Email: Julie.Scarfe@bhnft.nhs.uk

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