Bishop of London asks about development of healthcare strategies

The Bishop of London received the following written answer on 1st February 2023:

The Lord Bishop of London asked His Majesty’s Government what the consultation process will be in the development of their Major Conditions Strategy.

Lord Markham (Con): Through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, the Government is currently reviewing which retained European Union law should be repealed, reformed or preserved. The Government continues to work with a range of stakeholders to ensure that current standards in patient safety and public health are maintained.


Bishop of Durham asks about cholera outbreak in Burundi

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 24th January 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recent outbreak of cholera in Burundi.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park: We note reports of a recent outbreak of cholera in Burundi and urge the Government of Burundi to continue taking preventative measures to limit further risks to the population. FCDO officials have engaged with international partners to discuss how we can limit the outbreak of cholera worldwide.


Bishop of Carlisle asks about PPE purchasing systems

The Bishop of Carlisle asked a question on whether the government have revised their PPE purchasing systems for possible future pandemics on Monday 16th January 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Carlisle: My Lords, can the Minister tell us whether His Majesty’s Government have yet put in place a revised system to purchase PPE during a pandemic?

Lord Markham (Con): PPE is an example of where we all agree that we could have done better, to say the least. At this stage, I should declare an interest in that I set up a Covid testing company—not PPE—which never supplied the Government. I want to be clear about that, so that the House is fully aware of it in terms of my replies, now we are talking about PPE and related areas. Yes, we can learn a lot about PPE. At the same time, we did buy 35 billion items, 97% of which worked very well. It is important that we keep all this in context; we got 97% of things right.


Bishop of London urges government to work with faith groups to tackle health inequalities

On 12th January 2022, the House of Lords debated changing mortality rates in the UK in Grand Committee. The Bishop of London spoke in the debate, advocating for greater inclusion of faith groups to aid in tackling health inequalities:

The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Sikka, for securing this important debate. I also look forward to hearing from the noble Lord, Lord Evans, in his maiden speech.

The paper at the heart of this debate provides a useful focus, because it highlights one of the worst health outcomes that we have seen in the past 10 years: that of widening inequalities. It is also helpful because, by focusing on the impact of austerity, we begin to see that public health is impacted by many factors besides healthcare access—factors called the social determinants of health. Those include housing, our jobs, our environment, our education and much more. They can be summed up as the opportunities that we have to lead healthy lives. The Heath Foundation noted that 50% of people in the most deprived areas report poor health by the age of 55 to 59, which is more than two decades earlier than in the least deprived areas. It is not just about life expectancy; it is also about healthy life expectancy.

The debate is poignant also because it comes at a time of great strain on the NHS and on social care, and at a time when those other determinants of health are challenging for many of us. We are also at a moment when I hope we are beginning to realise the importance of prevention of ill health, which is essential for the sustainability of our healthcare system.

Continue reading “Bishop of London urges government to work with faith groups to tackle health inequalities”

Bishop of St Albans asks about public health impacts of sewage discharges

The Bishop of St Albans asked a question about the public health consequences of sewage being discharged into the sea and rivers on 14th November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, this is not just causing devastation in our rivers—not least in our wonderful chalk streams in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire in my diocese—it is also a public health issue. Noble Lords may have seen the story of Jayne Etherington, a 22 year-old who went swimming in Pembrokeshire, caught E. coli from sewage and landed up in hospital with serious damage to her organs. What does the NHS think about this as a health hazard which is affecting a significant number of people and stopping them getting exercise by swimming in the sea?

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about public health impacts of sewage discharges”

Bishop of Coventry asks Government about data sharing during the Covid-19 pandemic

On 1st July a statement was given updating the House of Lords on the Covid-19 situation in the UK. The Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, asked a follow up question focusing on data sharing.

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, the Minister said that data required by local authorities is given to them, but I am told by the leader of Coventry City Council and our director of public health that, although data sharing has improved over the past two weeks, it still comes from different sources and does not include data on workplaces and other settings that people regularly visit or, as we have heard, on ethnicity. Can the Minister provide further assurances that local authorities will be supplied with the full data that they need to respond to local outbreaks in a streamlined form and at an early point?

Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry asks Government about data sharing during the Covid-19 pandemic”

Bishop of St Albans – gambling industry is privatising profits and nationalising cost of problem gambling

St Albans 2On 2nd July 2019 the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport  repeated a Government Statement about industry support for those affected by problem gambling. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I welcome this announcement today, but I notice from a press release from the companies that they see it as a health issue:

“The key priority will be to quadruple the number of those accessing treatment from 2.5% to 10%”.

After four years, 90% of those with gambling addiction problems will still be unable to access help. Surely that cannot be acceptable. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans – gambling industry is privatising profits and nationalising cost of problem gambling”

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