On 12th May 2014 Baroness Kennedy of Cradley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what steps are being taken to ensure adequate levels of nursing staff in the National Health Service.”
The Bishop of Oxford asked a supplementary question, drawing parallels between staffing obligations and the situation of Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group, which had been warned about disregarding NICE guidelines on another case:
The Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, given the court ruling last week against Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group, saying that it was obliged to follow NICE guidelines unless a special factor could be determined that would justify departure, will Her Majesty’s Government give an assurance that the same test will apply to NHS trusts in regard to the ratio of nurses and patients?
Earl Howe: The guidance issued today by NICE on staffing ratios, to which I think the right reverend Prelate is specifically referring, is in draft, but the deputy chief executive of NICE has stressed that there are no floor or ceiling numbers on the required number of nursing staff that can be applied either across the whole of the NHS or in a particular ward setting. What the profession is seeking, and what NICE is looking to give it, is a reference tool or guideline that will enable it to judge correct staffing levels in accordance with the particular circumstances of a ward and the skill mix of the staff on that ward. It is a guideline rather than a mandatory prescription.
On 12th May 2014 the Church of England (Miscellaneous Provisions) Measure was passed by the House of Commons, after being scrutinised by MPs in a delegated legislation committee. A transcript of the debate, led by the Second Church Estates Commissioner Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, is below. A video of the session can also be viewed on the UK Parliament website, here.
On 7th May, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, took part in a division during the ‘ping-pong’ stage of the Government’s Care Bill.
Independent Social Democrat Peer Lord Owen moved Amendments 45E and 45F, which sought to introduce an independent Oversight Panel to advise the Secretary of State on matters relating to health and adult social care.
There were Contents: 165 / Not Contents: 259. Result: Government Win
The Bishop of Coventry voted ‘content’. No bishop voted ‘not content’.
On 6th May 2014, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans, recieved answers to two written questions on the subject of apprenticeships.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what percentage of apprentices enter into employment with the company to which they were apprenticed after their apprenticeship scheme has finished.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): We publish information on learning outcomes on the Further Education Choices website to help better inform learner choices. This website presents information on learner outcomes with any employer as well as other destinations:
On 6th May 2014, the Rt Revd John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, recieved answers to two written questions on the Central African Republic.
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which sexual violence has been used by all parties to the conflict in the Central African Republic.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Reports suggest that sexual violence in conflict is widespread in the Central African Republic (CAR). UN Security Council Resolution 2149 on CAR authorises a UN Peacekeeping Operation which will, as part of its mandate, be required to help to prevent sexual violence, and contribute to efforts to identify and prosecute perpetrators. The UK is also looking to provide funding to the African Union (AU)’s response to the urgent needs of CAR’s victims of sexual violence, and to track and report on specific occurrences of sexual violence. We encourage CAR to endorse the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict and to attend the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, in London in June 2014.
On 6th May 2014, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, recieved an answer to a written question on the current situation in Egypt.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the independence of the judiciary in Egypt.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The new Egyptian constitution, adopted in January 2014, states that the judicial system is independent, and allows the judiciary its own budget, and to appoint the Prosecutor General and members of the Supreme Constitutional Court. We do, however, have some concerns over recent judicial decisions, including the sentencing to death of 529 people in Minya on 24 March. Reports that many of the defendants were tried in their absence and may not have been represented properly are deeply troubling. We have been urging the Egyptian authorities to ensure that the rights of defendants are fully respected in all cases.
“The ability to pray and worship as one wishes is a fundamental human right, and one that we, as elected democrats, should always seek to defend.” – Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, 1/5/14
On 1st May 2014 a debate was held in the House of Commons on ‘Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion’. The debate was led by the Alliance MP for Belfast East, Naomi Long. Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, who is the Second Church Estates Commissioner, took part in the debate and his speech is below. The full debate can be read on the UK Hansard website here.Continue reading “MPs debate freedom of thought, conscience and religion”