Debates between Lord Bradshaw and Lord Bethell during the 2019 Parliament

Tue 18th May 2021
Wed 23rd Sep 2020
Thu 3rd Sep 2020
Wed 1st Jul 2020
Wed 20th May 2020

Covid-19 Update

Debate between Lord Bradshaw and Lord Bethell
Tuesday 18th May 2021

(3 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell (Con)
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My Lords, I have to be honest with the noble Baroness: I am not sure it is helpful to try to connect healthcare policy decisions with a commentary on hate crime. The people who have not stepped up to the vaccine come from a very wide variety of communities; it is not one single community that has been singled out. We are talking about everyone from migrant workers in the apple yards of Herefordshire, to hard-working off-book sweat-shop labourers in east Leicestershire. In between there are people from many different communities who have not taken advantage of the vaccine opportunity. We are working really closely at NHS level to reassure community leaders and individuals concerned that the vaccine is safe and will provide protection. That is the right conversation to have.

Lord Bradshaw Portrait Lord Bradshaw (LD) [V]
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The bus industry has cleaned up its buses and introduced lots of ventilation, and people are wearing masks. Is there any hope that the amount of social distancing on buses will be reduced in the near future, because there is a lot of unused capacity?

Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell (Con)
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My Lords, I pay tribute to the bus industry. Many noble Lords will remember those terrible stories at the beginning of the pandemic about bus drivers having an extremely high incidence of severe disease and even death. But the noble Lord should have hope as there is a really good reason why the buses will one day be full, and that is the vaccine. The vaccine gives us all hope that the kind of life we once had can be revisited, although we have to take some time to ensure that the vaccines are working as well as they should. We have to ensure that booster shots, if needed, are delivered. We have to ensure that the vaccine cuts through to all communities and that hygiene—the social distancing, handwashing and other personal hygiene disciplines which are going to be a long-term commitment by the entire nation—is truly imbedded in everyone’s habits.

Covid-19 Update

Debate between Lord Bradshaw and Lord Bethell
Wednesday 23rd September 2020

(3 years, 9 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Bradshaw Portrait Lord Bradshaw (LD) [V]
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The noble Lord may know of my interest in public transport. Since the wearing of masks has been mandated by law, is he satisfied now that everything possible is being done to make the use of public transport safe for people?

Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell (Con)
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My Lords, I recognise the expertise of the noble Lord on public transport. It is my observation that the public have come a long way on mask wearing. When I was on the Tube this morning, absolutely everyone, including small children, was wearing a mask. That is huge progress. Yes, there is more that could be done, and we have brought in fines and support for isolation, but I pay tribute to the public attitudes that have moved a long way in this matter.

Covid-19

Debate between Lord Bradshaw and Lord Bethell
Thursday 3rd September 2020

(3 years, 9 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell (Con)
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The noble Lord is entirely right to raise the terrible statistics on BAME health workers. It is not conclusively understood why the numbers are as dramatic as he articulated. I am afraid we are still speculating, and a huge amount of work is being undertaken by PHE in this area to understand it better. Some of it is because BAME front-line workers selflessly put themselves in harm’s way in environments where there are higher risks, despite the extraordinary efforts of trusts and CCGs to protect them. Part of it is the living arrangements and part is the behavioural arrangements. These things are explicitly explained in the PHE report, but it is a matter of huge concern. Trusts and CCGs have been urged to put risk-management practices in place according to local needs and arrangements, and the numbers have changed as a result of these policies.

Lord Bradshaw Portrait Lord Bradshaw (LD) [V]
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I want to talk about areas other than London. The bus industry has made huge efforts to make its buses safe for people to use, yet people who put in local lockdowns are still advising people not to use public transport. What is the scientific basis for that advice?

Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell (Con)
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My Lords, I do not support that advice. I took the bus to work today and encourage others to do the same.

Covid-19: Response

Debate between Lord Bradshaw and Lord Bethell
Monday 27th July 2020

(3 years, 10 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell [V]
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My Lords, PHE publishes detailed statistics which give a gender breakdown. I recommend that the noble Lord has a look at the data. We express our sadness and regret for all those who have passed away and our support for all those mourning them.

Lord Bradshaw Portrait Lord Bradshaw (LD) [V]
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The rail industry is keen to introduce a flexible form of season ticket to support a return to rail travel for those who have been working from home so that they may in future work flexibly. Will the Minister seek on my behalf assurances from his colleagues in the Department for Transport that they are treating this matter with urgency and not obstructing it? If he could write to me about that, I would be grateful. Will he also acknowledge the health benefits of getting people out walking, cycling and using public transport again, instead of relying solely on their cars, which lead to more congestion, more pollution and little or no exercise on the part of drivers? Further government encouragement would be welcome in bringing that about.

Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell [V]
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The noble Lord is entirely right that Covid will lead to changes both subtle and profound in the way we do many things in our life, including patterns of commuting, and a renewed commitment to modes of transport that support our health, particularly cycling and walking. Local authorities such as TfL already have strong bicycling and walking plans. Those will undoubtedly be enhanced, and the Government entirely support them.

Covid-19 Update

Debate between Lord Bradshaw and Lord Bethell
Wednesday 1st July 2020

(3 years, 11 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell
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Yes, the mayor is mistaken. He has been presented with all the data that we had. He has sat down with public health officials and been through that data, which has been re-presented to him on several occasions. I am pleased to say that he has finally come round to the lockdown measures that we have recommended.

Lord Bradshaw Portrait Lord Bradshaw (LD) [V]
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My Lords, currently we are dealing with coronavirus problems, but another problem is approaching us: we are telling people not to use public transport but, at the same time, we are filling our cities with cars, pollution and congestion. Can I be assured that all the health issues are taken into account in deciding how many people can travel on buses?

Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell
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The noble Lord raises a significant challenge that has emerged from Covid: our profound reliance on public transport to keep our major cities and, candidly, much of our economy going. The idea that we can quickly return to packed tubes and crowded buses feels unlikely at this stage, but the answer is a difficult one to imagine, not least our need to get nurses and doctors to the front line of their hospitals and care provision. The health agenda on this is extremely important, and the noble Lord can rely on the Department of Health and Social Care to pursue it with energy.

Dental Care

Debate between Lord Bradshaw and Lord Bethell
Wednesday 20th May 2020

(4 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell
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My Lords, I completely endorse the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton. I lost a front tooth a few weeks ago and I cannot wait for the dentists to reopen because it is both uncomfortable and embarrassing. We are providing enormous financial support through NHS contracts, which we have honoured 100% through the epidemic whether or not dentists are seeing patients. However, we recognise that there is a problem with the private sector, and we are working with colleagues in the Treasury to try to find a solution.

Lord Bradshaw Portrait Lord Bradshaw (LD)
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It is the private dental sector that is probably in most trouble, because of a lack of financial support given by the Government and the question whether private dentists have adequate access to PPE, to which the Minister has referred. Will he address those questions? What meetings have taken place with the BDA to deal with these problems?

Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell
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My Lords, at present there are restrictions on private dentists opening; the guidelines are clear on that. We are putting in place provision of PPE for when those guidelines are amended to allow the reopening of dental practices. We are also giving thought to how we will get through the large backlog of dentists’ work that will need to be done to catch up on those missed appointments.