Bishop of Durham highlights the importance of chaplaincy and a whole person approach to end of life care

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durham-230117On 14th March 2017, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff led a short debate on the question of ‘how the Government intends to ensure that Clinical Commissioners respect the undertakings made in Our Commitments to You for End of Life Care: The Government Response to the Review of Choice in End of Life Care’. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler spoke in the debate, paying tribute to the importance of chaplaincy to end of life care.

The Lord Bishop of Durham My Lords:

“The medical side of a patient’s health is not always the key to treating them”.

So said a medical student recently, describing what he had learned from a leading end-of-life care specialist at St Benedict’s Hospice and Centre in Sunderland. Another medical student said:

“Palliative care is not just end-of-life care. It is a very holistic approach which supports the patients’ needs very well”. Continue reading

Bishop of Chester speaks about national debt and expenditure pressures in Budget debate

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Chester1On 14th March 2017, the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, moved that this House takes note of the economy in the light of the Budget Statement. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, spoke in the debate, focusing on national debt and expenditure pressures.

The Lord Bishop of Chester My Lords, it is not only the last spring Budget, it is the last Budget in Lent. If we had any doubts, then the early speeches in this debate brought that Lenten theme home rather well.

I do not want to get into the details of the Budget, which are very political, but to talk about two broader, longer-term issues to which the Chancellor referred in his speech. The first, which has already been alluded to, is our national debt. Its rate of growth is forecast to slow in this decade, but that is stabilisation at a very high level, representing nearly £62,000 for every household in the country. Even at the current very low interest rates, servicing that debt costs £50 billion a year—more than the combined costs of defence and police services in this country. Continue reading

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about workplace access to mental health services

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St Albans 2On the 8th February 2017,  Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty’s Government “what measures they are taking to improve productivity in the United Kingdom economy.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, one factor that influences productivity is issues of health, particularly mental health. Something like nearly three out of 10 employees are reporting some sort of mental health problem each year, which analysts believe is costing employers something like £30 billion a year. Will the Minister tell the House what the Government are doing to support employers in encouraging high levels of well-being and what is being done to lessen the stigma of mental ill health—in particular, encouraging employees to access mental health services that are already available to them? Continue reading

Votes: Health Service Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill

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On 8th February 2017 two votes took place in the Lords on amendments to the Government’s Health Services Medical Supplies (Costs) Bill. The Bishops of Chester and St Albans took part in the first vote and the Bishops of Carlisle, Chester and St Albans in the second. Continue reading

Bishop of Winchester asks Government about partnership with faith groups in social care delivery

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Bishop of WinchesterOn 15th November 2016, Baroness Pitkeathley asked Her Majesty’s Government “what is their response to the warning by the Care Quality Commission in their State of Care report, published in October, that adult social care is approaching “tipping point”. The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow up question:.

The Lord Bishop of Winchester My Lords, given the well-established engagement of faith groups in the area of social care, such as the Good Neighbours support service in Hampshire, what progress have Her Majesty’s Government made in reducing barriers to engagement by faith and belief groups, as recommended by the Local Government Association in its 2012 report, Faith and Belief in Partnership? Continue reading

Bishop of Chester asks Government about health spending on HIV prevention

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ChesterOn 18th October 2016, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath asked the Government whether NHS England is informing patients that lifesaving drugs will be denied them if funding has to be made available for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a follow up question. 

NHS (Charitable Trusts etc) Bill – Bishop of Bristol supports

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On 26th February 2016 the House of Lords debated at Second Reading the NHS (Charitable Trusts Etc) Bill – a Private Member’s Bill from Baroness Massey of Darwen. The Bill’s provisions include securing continuation of funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital from the royalties of JM Barrie (the author of Peter Pan). The Bishop of Bristol supported the Bill.

Bristol160226 cThe Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I am grateful for this opportunity to speak in the gap. For reasons I do not fully understand, my name was missed off the list. I am pleased to stand on behalf of these Benches to say how warmly we support the Bill. I also congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Massey, on her introduction of the Bill, and her ability to take some of the detail of the legislation and, to quote Garrison Keillor, put the hay where the goats can get it. I am most grateful to her for that.

I also thank the noble Lord, Lord Bird, for his remarkable, spontaneous, interesting and engaging maiden speech. I wonder quite what volume he might muster when his throat recovers.

As I said, I am glad to speak in favour of the Bill. I am in favour both of the principle behind it and of its practical application, as many in your Lordships’ House have said, in relation to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which is a remarkable hospital. Continue reading