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
As is usual in Committee, the amendments were not pressed to a vote after debate, though some issues may be returned to again at a later stage. A transcript of the Bishop’s speeches is below. The text of the amendment supported by the Bishop are reproduced underneath. Continue reading “Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Bishop of Southwark supports amendment on exempting health and social care workers 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?
Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about routine health checks for over 75s”
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?
Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks for Covid-19 Strategy to take into account spiritual, social and mental well-being”
On 23rd April 2020 in a virtual sitting of the House of Lords Baroness McIntosh of Pickering asked the Government “how many United Kingdom manufacturers are in place to ensure that an adequate supply of personal protective equipment is made available to (1) the National Health Service, and (2) carers, to all regions of the United Kingdom; and what direct contact they have had with such manufacturers based in the North of England.” The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Christine Hardman, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, in view of the inability to supply sufficient PPE to where it is needed, despite the very best efforts of central government, will the Minister take note of the achievements of the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, working in partnership with Wingrove Motor Company, Northumbria University, Barbour and many others, to produce and deliver PPE directly to hospitals and hospices in the region? Will the Minister consider devolving more power to the regions and those on the front line?
Continue reading “Covid-19: Bishop of Newcastle praises local efforts to produce PPE and asks Government about devolved production power”
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?
Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle asks Government about safety of staff running care homes, sheltered accommodation and hospices”
On 1st & 20th April 2020 the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received answers to written questions on the immigration health surcharge:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: HL2736 To ask Her Majesty’s Government what evidence was used to inform the increase in the immigration health surcharge, announced in the 2020 Budget. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham asks about immigration health surcharge, impact on children and NHS workers”