On 15th December 2015 Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust’s decision to list Down’s syndrome as a reason to issue a Do Not Resuscitate order to a patient.” The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, from these Benches we affirm that those with Down’s syndrome and other learning disabilities and handicaps are fully human and fully made in the image of God. We believe that the chief mark of a civilised society is the way it cares for the most vulnerable. Can the Government, through the Minister, indicate what they can do to change the culture, training and attitudes within the NHS—and perhaps within society more widely—to make sure that mistakes such as the one made by this junior doctor are not made again?
Lord Prior of Brampton: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate makes a number of very important points. This is a society issue as much as a medical issue. Before coming into the Chamber today I discussed with the noble Baroness, Lady Hollins, the importance of teaching students at medical school how to value people with learning difficulties, and the important role that people with learning disabilities might play by going to medical schools and directly telling medical students about their lives and concerns.