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


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


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


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


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


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

Bishop of Peterborough asks Government what is being done to increase number of doctors and nurses on permanent hospital staff


On 23rd February 2016 Baroness McIntosh of Pickering asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the number of shifts in hospital accident and emergency services not fully manned in each of the last three years.” The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question.

14.02 PeterboroughThe Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, will the Minister please tell us what is being done to help hospitals to have enough doctors and nurses on their permanent staff, rather than having to rely on banks and agencies?

Lord Prior of Brampton: The right reverend Prelate is right that reliance on agency and non-permanent staff has become far too high. It is something we must reduce, not just because it is very expensive to use agency staff, but because the continuity and quality of care suffers. We are taking strong action to reduce the role of agency staffing in the NHS.



Bishop of Chester asks Government about junior doctors’ remuneration


ChesterOn the 27th January 2016 Lord Harries of Pentregarth asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the remuneration of junior doctors”. The Rt Revd Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester, asked a follow up question.

The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I, too, declare that I have a daughter who is a junior doctor. She is in her fourth year since qualification. To get to the level of remuneration that the noble Lord mentioned—some £23,000—junior doctors have to work jolly long and unsocial hours. But my specific question is: what is the comparator with other developed western countries for the remuneration of our younger doctors?

Continue reading