Emergency Services: Ministers of Religion Debate

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Department: Home Office

Emergency Services: Ministers of Religion

Lord Moylan Excerpts
Monday 22nd November 2021

(2 years, 8 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Asked by
Lord Moylan Portrait Lord Moylan
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to establish a multi-professional strategy for the emergency services concerning the attendance of ministers of religion at the scene of situations involving serious injury.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con)
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My Lords, today of all days, we remember Sir David Amess, who tragically died carrying out his duties as a public servant. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones, as well as with all those involved in scenes of traumatic injury. Decisions regarding the management of such situations remain an operational issue for the emergency services involved. There are no plans to establish a multi-professional strategy on this issue.

Lord Moylan Portrait Lord Moylan (Con)
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My Lords, the tragic death of Sir David Amess brought to national attention a problem that experts and academics in the field of disaster and emergency response have recognised for some time—namely, the lack of a considered approach to the role of ministers of religion and their access to victims at end-of-life in disasters and emergencies. While I welcome the fact that the Archbishop of Westminster and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner have opened a dialogue on this topic, does my noble friend agree that a national standard is required? Will she undertake a study, preliminary to that, of other jurisdictions such as Israel, Italy and even Northern Ireland, where practice tends to be more nuanced and accommodating?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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There are certainly lessons to be learned from other jurisdictions, as my noble friend said. I totally empathise with the situation that both David Amess’s family and the police found themselves in during that dreadful incident. Given the people who are involved, I hope and expect a sensible and pragmatic conclusion to be arrived at through the discussions.