On 15th June 2021 the House of Lords heard a repeat of a Government statement on covid-19 rules.
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, regardless of matters of hindsight, does the Minister agree that prolonging the restrictions might be justified for certain reasons? I do not demur from that, but the prolonging of inconsistencies is a serious impediment to public adherence to the rules. You do not have to look very far to see where the discipline broke down a long time ago. For example—this is not special pleading; it is just at the forefront of my mind—you can sing in a pub but not in a church. This is what brings the rules into disrepute, and therefore people do not agree with them.
Secondly, can the Minister say something in response to Michael Gove’s reported comments about acceptable death rates? We have learned to live with acceptable death rates from flu and other seasonal diseases. Will the Government do some work on what might be an acceptable death rate from Covid in future and be up-front with the country as to what that might be? I think we can take it.
On 20th October 2020 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a Government statement on Covid-19, and also considered the Government’s Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020. The Bishop of London spoke in response to both:
In response to the Motion to approve the Regulations, she said:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for the work that he and others are doing to make decisions at this very challenging time. The regulations we are debating relate to health protection restrictions and fines. However, I wonder whether our approach to public health protection and restrictions during the pandemic needs to pay more attention to a bottom-up approach of wisdom, rather than simply relying on top-down pragmatism and the push and pull of financial incentives. Last week, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Manchester highlighted how policies, such as fines, are out of touch with many. It has led to frustration and resentment nationwide. Continue reading “Bishop of London – need to invest in local public health responses to coronavirus and offer right financial support for most restricted areas”
On 14th October 2020 the House of Lords heard the repeat of a Covid-19 update that had been given to the House of Commons by the Prime Minister. The Bishop of Durham spoke in response:
The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: In welcoming the fact that places of worship have been allowed to continue to open—that is partly a recognition of their important place in the life of the nation—I note that the Prime Minister spoke still in the binaries of economic health and medical health that we have heard throughout the course of the pandemic. However, the nation’s health is more than this binary. The Government must surely no longer overlook the need to protect the nation’s social and spiritual health too. The Christian faith is clear that well-being is far more than being medically healthy or simply alive; rather, it involves social engagement, emotional nourishment, spiritual rest and love from good community. Will the Government acknowledge the nation’s need for social and spiritual health by including experts on social well-being in all future conversations around lockdown measures?
Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Con): I agree with the right reverend Prelate that that is the dilemma being faced. As he rightly says, harm to health is harm to the economy and harm to the economy is harm to health: these things are all interlinked, which is why this is a very difficult situation and why difficult decisions are having to be made about how to balance them. I can assure him that that is at the forefront of our thoughts. As part of the ongoing discussions around decisions being made about national and local levels, I know that Cabinet colleagues and the Prime Minister are talking to a huge range of people with different backgrounds to make sure that we get that right and get the country moving in the right direction.
On Tuesday 15th September 2020 Lord Hunt of Kings Heath asked the Government “in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, what plans they have for changes to the NHS long-term plan.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, given that the health protection remit of Public Health England is to be subsumed into the new national institute for health protection, can the Minister tell us what steps Her Majesty’s Government will take to ensure that health inequalities are robustly addressed through programmes of health education and promotion, as envisaged in chapter 2 of the NHS Long Term Plan? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about tackling health inequalities”
On 14th September 2020 the House of Lords considered amendments to the Government’s Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, during its third day in Committee.
The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, supported amendments to the Bill to make EEA and Swiss nationals coming to the UK to work as a healthcare or social care worker exempt from the Immigration Health Charge
On 3rd September 2020 a Government statement on COVID-19 was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Vivienne Faull, asked a question about treatment of those with long-term effects:
The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, North Bristol NHS Trust has recently reported on an audit of 110 patients discharged after being severely ill with Covid-19. Of these, 75% were still experiencing serious symptoms three months later. This is just part of the mounting evidence of the long-term effects of Covid-19 even on those with mild infection in the acute phase. What steps are the Government taking to raise public awareness of so-called long Covid and to invest in the care of those who are now chronically ill? Continue reading “Bishop of Bristol asks about those suffering long-term effects of COVID-19”
On 18th June 2020 Lord Clark of Windermere asked the Government “what plans they have to facilitate the recruitment of nurses onto degree courses beginning in September 2020.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, support for key public service staff and maintaining quality training for those professions will be strategic in the successful rebuilding of our post-Covid society. In the Royal College of Nursing 2019 employment survey, 37% of qualified nurses said that they were seeking a new job outside the profession. Does the Minister agree that the retention of qualified nurses, midwifery and allied health professional staff is just as important as the recruitment of trainees? Will he therefore say more about how the Government will review the support packages available to both students and new post-qualification nurses and allied health professionals, in order that more of those newly qualified are encouraged to remain in the profession? Continue reading “Bishop of Winchester asks Government about retention of nurses”
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?
On 12th May the Government made a statement on their strategy for tackling COVID-19. The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, asked a follow up question, focusing on recognising the importance of spiritual, social and mental well-being.
Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, language matters. Loose language and sloppy images hinder, rather than help. We need to continue to suppress the coronavirus—learn to coexist with it—as eradication is a long way off. Does the Leader agree that any recovery road map must recognise and speak of the importance of spiritual, social and mental well-being, as much as physical and economic health? Will she guarantee that this will be the case as phases 2 and 3 are developed?