Bishop of London speaks during second reading of Health Service Safety Investigations Bill

London3On 29th October 2019 the House debated the second reading of the Health Service Safety Investigations Bill. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, contributed:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak at this Second Reading. I declare my interests as set out in the register. I too am grateful for briefings from the Library, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Like most noble Lords, I welcome the Bill’s proposal to create an independent body which will investigate serious patient safety incidents. The NHS is to be congratulated on the way in which it has sought over the years to develop as a learning organisation. Florence Nightingale said:

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Bishop of London highlights role of church and community groups in improving health and social care

London1On 22nd October 2019 Parliament continued to debate the Queen’s Speech, including scrutiny of measures relating to Health and Social Care. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally (and formerly Chief Nursing Officer for England), contributed to the debate:

Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, many noble Lords will know that I have a background in health, and I continue to be a great supporter of the National Health Service, so they will not be surprised when I address my comments to health and social care. In doing so, I recognise the contribution of the noble Baroness, Lady Emerton, to nursing and to this House.

I thank the Government for their work to support and strengthen the National Health Service, its workforce and its resources. However, increased investment and reform does not guarantee getting to the root of the problem. Our health and social care issue is what you might call a “village problem”. Our flourishing, mentally, physically and emotionally, occurs best in community. More than that, as Sir Michael Marmot’s research from the Institute of Health Equity indicated, our economic, social and emotional circumstances all play a part in our health and well-being.

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Bishop of Durham responds to spending round with need for focus on society’s most vulnerable

19.01.07 durham bOn 25th September 2019 the House of Lords took note of the Government’s Spending Round 2019. The Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, contributed to the debate:

Lord Bishop of Durham: My Lords, like others, I welcome the fact that we are able to hold a debate on the spending round 2019. When the political point-scoring is redacted from the Chancellor’s original Statement, as I note it is on the GOV.UK website, there are aspects to welcome in the overall spending increase and some of the specific commitments. I am pleased that the Chancellor recognised in his speech that in the nation there are anxieties and divisions,

“between regions and communities, rich and poor, rural and urban, young and old”,—[Official Report, Commons, 4/9/2019; col. 180.]

and between black and white. The test for me is always around the impact of spending on the most vulnerable in our society. It is this that leads me to ask some questions.

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Bishop of St Albans asks about funding for problem gambling clinics

St Albans 2On 6th August 2019 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from Government, in reply to two questions about funding for problem gambling clinics:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: (i) HL17484 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on 17 July (HL16963 and HL16964), what was the budget of Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust for funding the NHS Northern Gambling Clinic; and what is the projected cost of that clinic in (1) 2020, (2) 2021, and (3) 2022.

(ii) HL17485 To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on 17 July (HL16963 and HL16964), what was the budget of the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust for funding the National Problem Gambling Clinic; and what is the projected cost of that clinic in (1) 2020, (2) 2021, and (3) 2022.

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Bishop of St Albans on links between inequality, unemployment and mental ill health

Inequality, unemployment and mental ill health are three interconnected, intersecting areas which are important to address if we are to have a flourishing and thriving society in which all can participate. As we know, mental ill health is one of the two main disabilities affecting participation in work. I am glad that the Government have decided that the NHS long-term plan will assist people with mental health issues into work. That plan recognises that mental health problems disproportionately impact on people living in poverty and those who face various forms of discrimination. This is a huge step forward in the visibility and awareness of this issue, and I hope that it really will help us move ahead.

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Bishop of Carlisle asks Government about preventing asthma deaths

Carlisle141217bOn 3rd July 2019 the Earl of Clancarty asked the Government  “what support they are giving to people suffering from asthma, including on access to medicines”. The Bishop of Carlisle, Rt Revd James Newcome, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, given the recent report of an upsurge in acute asthma attacks among schoolchildren at the start of each school year, and given that—as we have already heard—there are three deaths per day from asthma in the UK, many of them preventable, what plans do Her Majesty’s Government have for encouraging better health education regarding the seriousness of this disease?

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Bishop of Winchester responds to Augar review of post-18 education, proposes public service covenant for vocational graduates

winchester171116On 2nd July 2019 the House of Lords debated a motion “that this House should take note of the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding led by Philip Augar”. The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I thank the Minister for bringing this debate. Similarly, I thank Philip Augar and the independent panel members for the thorough review that they have undertaken. I welcome the publication of this report and the issues it raises. I declare my interests as the lead bishop for further and higher education, and as a governor of the University of Winchester.

I shall comment on three areas. My first point is about ensuring a genuinely rich ecology of higher education providers, and especially the contribution made by smaller and specialist institutions. A local example is the University of Winchester, a member of the Cathedrals Group association of universities, some of which are among the country’s smaller higher education institutions in terms of student numbers. One of the headline recommendations of the review is to lower tuition fees, which will reduce the funding institutions receive unless it is provided from other sources, such as grants for teaching. To enhance a diverse range of universities and secure the quality of provision, it is imperative to have a funding system that enables these institutions to flourish, and not simply larger universities which are generally more able to withstand funding turbulence.

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