Bishops of Lincoln and Coventry respond to Government statement on Gosport Independent Panel report

On 20th June 2018 a Government statement about the Gosport Independent panel, chaired by the former Bishop of Liverpool, was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishops of Lincoln and Coventry spoke after the statement to ask questions of the Minister. Their exchanges are below:

The Lord Bishop of Lincoln: My Lords, I declare an interest as my wife is a lead clinician in the office of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. My friend the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Portsmouth cannot be in his place today as he is in his cathedral church with the families of those whose loved ones were patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, as they properly received the report prior to it being laid before Parliament. On his behalf, and sharing his profound concern and with some anger as a vicar and archdeacon in that area at that time, I politely remind the Minister of the evidence of disregard for human life, a culture of deliberately shortening life, and a regime of systematic overuse of opioids and of the way in which those raising concerns were treated as troublemakers. Continue reading “Bishops of Lincoln and Coventry respond to Government statement on Gosport Independent Panel report”

Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about access to treatment for leukaemia patients

On 7th June 2018 Lord Forsyth of Drumlean asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to ensure that clinicians in England are able to treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia by prescribing Ibrutinib in accordance with NICE guidelines.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister for meeting some of the patients suffering from this terrible disease. Can he tell us whether anyone directly affected by blood cancer was consulted before the initial decision was made by NHS England to restrict access to Ibrutinib? Can he assure the House that NICE guidelines will not often be varied—and then only after consultation with patients? Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about access to treatment for leukaemia patients”

Bishop of Carlisle calls for an independent office for health and care sustainability

On the 26th April 2018 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Patel “that this House takes note of the Report from the Select Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS, The Long-term Sustainability of the NHS and Adult Social Care (Session 2016-17, HL Paper 151).” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, who had served on the Select Committee, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, like other noble Lords who have already spoken and who will speak in this debate, I had the great privilege of serving on the Select Committee that produced the report of which we are, I hope, taking note today. Like them, I pay tribute to my colleagues, from whom I learned a great deal, and to our excellent chairman, the noble Lord, Lord Patel.

Since the report was published, more than a year ago, I found myself presenting its findings in various venues in Cumbria, where I live and work. On some occasions, local Members of Parliament and senior NHS staff have also been involved, but on every occasion the interest generated has been huge, which is a reminder, should we need it, of the importance of this topic to every citizen in every part of this country. Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle calls for an independent office for health and care sustainability”

Bishop of Southwark asks Government about Minimum Unit Pricing of alcohol

On 28thsouthwark-20feb17 February 2018, Lord Rennard asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the costs benefit to the National Health Service and police of introducing minimum unit pricing for alcohol in England.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question: 

The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, the report of the University of Sheffield referred to earlier said that the top 30% of drinkers consume 80% of all alcohol consumed, as measured in pure ethanol; and that, of the beer sold in supermarkets, a disproportionately high amount is sold on promotion—and much of that well below 50p per unit. Does the Minister agree that a floor in the unit price of alcohol would help to yield a more orderly, content and healthy society by bearing down on demand?
Continue reading “Bishop of Southwark asks Government about Minimum Unit Pricing of alcohol”

Bishop of Peterborough supports Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill

On 26th January 2018 Baroness O’Loan introduced her private member’s bill, the Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill [HL], for its Second Reading debate in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke in support of it: 

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, yesterday, the River Restaurant downstairs helped us to celebrate Burns Night all day. I thoroughly enjoyed the Scotch broth at lunchtime, but I resisted the main course as I was eating out in the evening. I even resisted the whisky bread-and-butter pudding. The main course which I resisted was vegetarian haggis, celebrating Robert Burns in a way that respected the consciences of those who do not want to eat meat. That is a very proper and good thing to do. There is no legal requirement to provide vegetarian haggis, but it was welcome to many and I think that I would have enjoyed it. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough supports Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill”

Bishop of Carlisle highlights need for cancer care improvements

On 25th January 2018  Baroness Jowell hosted a debate in the House of Lords “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to evaluate innovative cancer treatments and make them available through the National Health Service, and to raise life expectancy for cancer patients”. The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, it is a great privilege to speak in this debate. I begin by observing that although, as we have heard, we currently have one of the worst cancer survival rates in Europe, the overall 10-year survival rate for all cancers in the UK has improved from 25% a few decades ago to 50% today. The laudable and ambitious goal of our cancer strategy is to make that 75% within the next decade, thereby not only catching up with but surpassing international, and especially European, averages. Cancer Research UK, among other agencies, is currently researching possible therapeutic interventions, many of them innovative, in a range of more than 200 different types of cancer, and that is something to celebrate. However, I suggest that three vital conditions need to be met if those aspirations are to be achieved. Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle highlights need for cancer care improvements”

Bishop of Carlisle raises concerns about winter pressures on the NHS

On 25th January 2018 Baroness Wheeler hosted a debate in the House of Lords “That this House takes note of the impact on front-line social care of Her Majesty’s Government’s NHS plans and the delivery of services over the winter period.” The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, spoke in the debate:

 

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, as ever, much of what I might have wished to say has already been said so I will not repeat it. I will try to keep my contribution brief.

In one sense, the current situation in health and social care, which, as we have heard, has been widely reported and analysed by the media, is nothing new. Admittedly, the number of patients with flu this year, especially elderly ones, has not helped. Last year, though, in its document entitled Winter Warning, NHS Providers commented that, “NHS performance last winter”—that is, 2016-17—

“showed unacceptable levels of patient risk as growing demand outstripped NHS capacity”.

Continue reading “Bishop of Carlisle raises concerns about winter pressures on the NHS”