On 17th October 2022, the House of Lords debated a bill to repeal the Health and Social Care Levy. The Bishop of London spoke about the importance of sustainable funding for the health and social care systems:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I have some technical questions about the implications of repealing this levy, but they prompt more significant questions about the sustainability of health and social care funding, as other noble Lords have already suggested. The sustainability of health and social care is hugely important to me, not just as a former Government’s Chief Nursing Officer, but as a bishop. This is about funding a service well with a long-term view, so that those who work hard to care for us have the resources to do the job. This is about the fact that every person is of great value in God’s sight and should be treated with dignity and equity. This is about a thriving economy because, without a healthy population, we will not have an economy that grows.
When the levy was introduced, the then Financial Secretary wrote to the Treasury Select Committee to justify it, saying that
“it would not be possible to fund this from existing tax revenues, nor would it be responsible to fund it through borrowing.”
This uncertainty about the direction does not inspire confidence that the Government have a sustainable plan to fund health and social care. If repealing this levy will not affect health and social care funding, can the Minister guarantee that a detailed breakdown of how this tax cut will be funded will be set out clearly?
The Bishop of London asked about the government’s plans to publish a health disparities white paper on 17th October 2022, during a debate on childhood obesity:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, the National Food Strategy to tackle obesity, the new tobacco control plan and the health disparities White Paper were key to the Government’s aim to level-up health. The most recent NHS Providers report found that 95% of trust leaders said that the cost of living had either significantly or severely worsened health inequalities in the local area. Given the worsening situation, can the Minister confirm when the health disparities White Paper will be published? If not, can he point to what else the Government are doing to reduce inequalities in health?
The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 27th June 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked Her Majesty’s Government:
how many nurses were hired in England from countries graded as red by the World Health Organisation for each of the past 10 years.
what plans they have, if any, to stop hiring health care professionals from countries listed as red by the World Health Organisation.
Lord Kamall (Con): Information on the number of nurses hired in England from countries graded as red by the World Health Organization (WHO) for each of the past 10 years, is not collected in the format requested. While the National Health Service Electronic Staff Record collects self-reported data on nationality, this does not show where staff were trained or the country in which they were resident at that time.
The Bishop of Durham asked a question during a discussion on the North East Ambulance Service on 23rd May 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, I should declare that NEAS serves the area that I live in; indeed, I shall be in Shildon on other business later this week. Will the Minister take the opportunity to applaud the work—on the ground and in the vehicles—of members of the ambulance service? They seek to do their best under incredible pressure, day in and day out. This is an opportunity to thank them, I think, even in the face of such tragedy.