“Many of us who are opposed to the Bill are greatly concerned by the unintended consequences that it will inevitably bring into play. It is simply not good enough for those who support the Bill to dismiss out of hand this genuine concern. It is for them to give us consistent evidence that our fears are unfounded. Sadly, the available evidence appears to raise, rather than allay, anxiety.”
On 18th July 2014, the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, took part in the Second Reading debate of the Assisted Dying Bill. The Bishop spoke against the Bill, focusing on the unintended consequences that the Bill would present, if passed.
The Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill spoke during Baroness Jay’s question for short debate assessing the Director of Public Prosecutions Guidelines for prosecution for assisted suicide. The Bishop highlighted number of cases which have been inspected by the DPP and the need to prevent the original intention of legislation gradually slipping into a very different definition and drew attention to the case of Belgium where the law to allow assisted suicide has been recently extended to include terminally ill children. Lord Faulks responded to the debate for the Government and made no new legislativee commitments.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they continue to be satisfied with the Director of Public Prosecutions’ Guidelines on prosecution for assisted suicide.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I add my own voice of gratitude to the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, for introducing the debate tonight. The DPP’s guidelines rightly give a central place to compassion in this vexed area. After more than 150 cases have been actively inspected by the DPP, it should now be clear to all that where a suffering patient wishes freely and without coercion to end their life, their family or friends who, motivated wholly by compassion, assist him or her to do so will not be prosecuted. There are many reasons for not moving beyond that legal position as some other countries have, but I shall refer to just one. Continue reading “Assisted Suicide Debate – Bishop of Bristol Warns Against Change in the Law”
On 9th September 2013, the Bishop of Bristol, the Rt Revd Mike Hill, received an answer to two written question on the Liverpool Care Pathway.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that quality statement six (holistic support—spiritual and religious) of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s 2011 quality standard for end of life care for adults is embedded in the end of life care proposals to replace the Liverpool Care Pathway.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Healthcare Chaplaincy is considered a “specialist service”, as referred to in recommendation 22 of the Independent Review of the Liverpool Care Pathway.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government’s intention is for the Liverpool Care Pathway to be phased out over the next 6-12 months in favour of an individual approach to end of life care for each patient, with a personalised care plan backed up by condition-specific guidance and a named senior clinician responsible for its implementation.
Spiritual and religious support is an essential part of first-class end of life care. However we have yet to set out the specific responses to the Independent Review’s recommendations. Over the coming weeks, the Department will be working with partner organisations, stakeholders and charities across health and care to inform a full system-wide response to the Review’s recommendations later in the autumn.
On 4th June 2013, nine bishops took part in a division during the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
Crossbench Peer Lord Dear moved, as an amendment to the motion that the bill be now read a second time, to leave out from “that” to the end and insert “this House declines to give the bill a second reading”.
Nine bishops voted “content” with Lord Dear’s amendment. They were: the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishops of Birmingham, Bristol, Chester, Coventry, Exeter, Hereford, London and Winchester. A further five bishops attended but abstained from the vote. No bishops voted “not content.”
There were: Contents: 148 | Not Contents: 390 | Result: Government Win