Headlines: June 10th, 1999

Balancing home life and work can be extremely difficult and a pilot project run by the Women’s Unit in the Cabinet Office has come up with ideas for supporting family friendly working in hospitals and supermarkets. The result is that some 40 National Health Service Trusts have signed up to take part in a project to spread an innovative approach in the private and public sectors. The Trusts will be working with retailers, including Asda, to share revolutionary ideas on how to encourage flexible working in the two sectors which traditionally have a high number of female employees and a 24-hour round the clock culture.

Among the many ideas put forward so far are granny creches, sophisticated computer rostering and individual working patterns. Churchill Hospital, Oxford, opened a “granny creche” earlier this year, which provides day care facilities for dependent relatives of hospital staff. The centre, run alongside the Trust’s existing nursery, was the brainchild of a member of staff who was concerned that elderly relatives should have an active and stimulating care environment while staff are at work.