How Ipswich Hospital reduced external agency use and sick leave - KidsCo

How Ipswich Hospital reduced external agency use and sick leave

How Ipswich Hospital reduced external agency use and sick leave during the school holidays.

About Ipswich Hospital

Ipswich Hospital is the largest hospital in the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service based in Queensland, Australia. The hospital provides a range of specialist health services with over 2000 doctors, nurses and other health professionals employed at the hospital.

Problem Identification 

Ipswich Hospital experienced 2 key health service challenges:

  1. Roll out of training for all staff in readiness for their largest change management process this decade and Digital Hospital
  2. School holidays saw a spike in sick/family leave use and low employee engagement

Some have even listed enabling and engaging staff as another focus. In a developed country like Australia, improved patient care is a constant focus in the healthcare industry. As a result, innovative solutions are required to achieve this goal.

Solution: Supporting their parents and carers

KidsCo ran a unique 9-day school holiday program to alleviate the stress on parents and carers during the school holidays. During the school holiday periods and in the lead-up, working parents enter what we know as “the stress zone” where finding child care during this time can be difficult and financially straining.

“This to us means more than just keeping people at work. It means we really demonstrate that we care  about our staff and we care about our community.”
– Luke Worth,  Executive Director 

We tailor our services to the organisation. Hospitals are different in their makeup and operations compared to other workplaces. Here are two main areas we focused on in tailoring our program to the hospital:


Adequate space within a hospital to run a program is a common roadblock for most hospitals and healthcare institutions. Therefore, to accommodate the number of children attending the programs, KidsCo sourced a space at the local school located under 1km away from the hospital.

Hours that work for the healthcare industry

After finding that many shift workers were unable to use the service as they began work earlier than 8:45 am or finished later than 5:00 pm, KidsCo adjusted operating hours to be from  6:00 am – 6:00 pm

Results: Reduction in external agency use and sick leave

Over the holiday period, the hospital saw an improvement in the following:

  • reduction in external agency use by 443.15 hours
  • 35% reduction in paid sick leave ($76,320) during the October school holidays
  • reduction in unpaid sick leave 17.11 FTE

68% of employees strongly agreed that the provision of a school holiday program in their workplace meant they did not need to access family leave day to care for children.

With the hospital subsidising a portion of the program cost, working parents were paying $20 a day for their child to attend resulting in the program reaching full capacity at 50 children per day with an extensive waitlist – the need for the program was evident.

Improving ‘patient care’

The  Queensland hospital saw a 35% reduction in paid leave across the 2 week period. This meant that shift workers were able to maintain their regular shifts and attend to regular patients. They found their staff were more engaged at work and the program had improved their mental health and wellbeing.

See below or click here to view all the fun we got up to with our partner hospital in Queensland.

Categories: case studies Employers KidsCo