On 16th September 2020 Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked the Government “what plans they have to ensure that any changes to the planning system will improve (1) building standards, (2) safety, (3) environmental impacts, and (4) the well-being of residents.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, the latest English housing survey reveals that only 9% of our housing stock has key disability accessibility features. Disability in old age is frequent, and with the ONS estimating that one in four people will be aged 65 or over by 2050 it is vital that we cater for what we are going to need.
On 29th July Baroness Gale asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to ensure that any data collected on domestic abuse includes the abuse of people over the age of 74.” The Rt Revd James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, asked a follow up question, focusing onhow faith communities could become part of a solution to domestic abuse.
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I have sad personal experience of a family situation where the perpetrator of the abuse was an older person, and we are all fearful that lockdown may have led to an increase in such instances. In that context, I am pleased that my diocese of Rochester is the first in the Church of England to establish a strategic partnership with the White Ribbon Campaign. In a world where such abuse, especially when it involves older people, often remains hidden, will the Minister commit to meeting with Members of these Benches, and perhaps other faith leaders, to discuss how the Domestic Abuse Bill’s guidance might empower faith communities to be part of the solution?
On 10th June Baroness Kennedy of Cradley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of cancelled medical operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic”. The Rt Revd James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle asked a follow up question, focusing on routine GP health checks for those over 75.
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, given the disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on those aged over 75 and the likely knock-on effects of cancelled operations, will the Minister take steps to encourage the reintroduction of routine GP health checks among people in this age group which, understandably, have been largely suspended during the pandemic?
In a House of Lords virtual sitting on 22nd April 2020 Baroness Wheeler asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the analysis by Care England which suggests that there have been significantly more deaths caused by Covid-19 in care homes than have been reported.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, it is not just care homes facing these very serious challenges; I have learned that it is also hospices and sheltered accommodation, among other places. Managers responsible for those organisations are under enormous pressure trying to ensure safe staffing levels and the safety of their staff. I hope that sufficient PPE will soon be secured and distributed. Although I recognise the enormous challenge and the efforts that are being made towards that, in the immediate context where we do not have that, can the Minister tell us how the Government aim to advise and support those responsible for running our care homes, sheltered accommodation and hospices, who are having to make such difficult decisions now and many of whom feel abandoned and rather lonely in that responsibility?
On 22nd November 2018 Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty’s Government “how much of the National Health Service mental health budget goes towards intervention to address domestic and sexual violence and abuse.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question about elder abuse:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, it is much to be welcomed that the Government are allocating this money. I am also glad that the needs of young people have been highlighted, but the Minister will be aware that statistics show that roughly 340,000 elderly people are suffering abuse in the community each year. If we are not tracking how the money is spent, how can we be sure that the mental health needs of the elderly are being properly addressed at a particularly vulnerable point in their lives? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about elder abuse and mental health support”
On 5th July 2018 Baroness Brinton led a debate on the question to Her Majesty’s Government, “what steps they are taking to ensure that social care in England is adequately funded.” The Bishop of Rochester, Rt Revd James Langstaff, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I too join in with the general rejoicing on this the 70th anniversary of the NHS, but as others have observed, I am glad that this debate has been brought forward by the noble Baroness because it is a necessary counterpoint to that. I join the noble Lord in expressing slight surprise at how few people have wanted to contribute to this debate, but that does give those of us who are speaking a little longer to do so.
On the 21st February 2018 Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government what priority they give to the provision of and funding for local neighbourhood services. The Bishop of Winchester, the Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question about the pressures on Local Authority services and social care.
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, in relation to the wider concern about neighbourhood services, we are yet to see the Green Paper on social care outlining plans for improved care for older people in an ageing population. From my own diocese, I am aware of the financial pressures on councils and the pressures that they are facing from the cost of social services for the elderly as they increase. Hampshire County Council expects an additional 1,000 over-85 year-olds every year. What assessment have the Government made of the demands on local social care services in the light of our current ageing population?
On 10th December 2015 the House of Lords debated a motion from Baroness Wheeler “That this House takes note of the quality and viability of the residential care sector in the light of the Government’s decision to delay the implementation of the care cost cap.” The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, spoke in the debate, calling for Government to give more priority to residential care standards and funding.
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I join other Members of your Lordships’ House in thanking the noble Baroness for securing this debate. I admired her high-paced delivery of a lot of information without losing any clarity. Like the noble Baroness, I hope that this will not become a debate where we just trade statistics across the House, because in the end, as the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, has just drawn our attention to, this is about people and their lives, and therefore it is a matter that should be, and is, of great concern to us all.
On 14th October 2014, Lord McKenzie of Luton asked Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to improve housing stability for those renting in the private sector, particularly families. The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Revd James Langstaff, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his assurance that the Government are aware of the needs of families in relation to the length of tenure for tenancies. Is the Minister also cognisant of the needs of retired persons, where length and stability of tenancy are important not only for their well-being in old age but also for their contribution to the communities where they are living in a sustainable way?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The right reverend Prelate again raises an important point at the other end of the age spectrum, and the Government are very much cognisant of ensuring stability for residents and that their needs are met. One thing on which we are clear is our approach to the private rented sector, through landlords, through providing greater protection and a greater sense of professionalism for both landlords and agents. We are also helping provide an increased level of guidance to tackle any perceived rogue landlords and making more help available to tenants in this particular sector.
“NHS staff may often be the only point of contact that trafficked individuals have with society…This is just one of many reasons why the significant reduction in chaplaincy hours by some trusts seems to be short-sighted and ill advised”- Bishop of Carlisle, 9/6/14
In the sixth response from the Bishops’ Benches to the Queen’s Speech, the Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Rev James Newcome, focused on health matters, drawing special attention to the need for action on elderly social care and on the health aspects of proposed legislation on modern slavery. He also criticised some Trusts for the recent significant reduction in chaplaincy hours.
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Willis, that the quantity of legislation does not equate to its quality. As we have already heard, we doubtless all agree that the noble Earl, Lord Howe, and the NHS deserve a bit of a rest. However, there are none the less those who regret the fact that so little of the gracious Speech related directly to health. For instance, the charity Age UK expressed its disappointment that an opportunity was lost to put in place safeguarding legislation that would have helped prevent the abuse of older people.