20 October 2010
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have announced the
appointment of the Bishop of Carlisle, The Rt Revd James Newcome,
as lead bishop on healthcare issues.
This appointment reflects the importance which the Church of
England gives to healthcare as a national priority and the
significance of physical, mental and spiritual care for the good of
all. Alongside his diocesan duties, Bishop James will work closely
with the Mission and Public Affairs Division of the Archbishops'
Council (MPA), which represents the church's views on healthcare to
the government, NHS and other agencies and is also responsible for
supporting the Church of England's healthcare chaplains across the
As lead bishop, Bishop James will work to keep healthcare issues
high on the agenda in the Church of England's engagement with
public policy. He will also work with the other diocesan bishops
and MPA to ensure that the church's healthcare chaplains receive
the support they need from the dioceses and central church
The appointment of a lead bishop for healthcare was a
recommendation of the review of the church's Hospital Chaplaincies
Council, chaired by Dame Janet Trotter, which reported earlier in
2010. The report argued that a lead bishop for healthcare would
help to establish stronger links between healthcare chaplains and
their dioceses and would express the church's support for chaplains
as part of its wider concern for the health of all.
Bishop James said: "I am delighted to accept this challenging
role as part of my ministry and mission as a bishop. The physical,
mental and spiritual care of all people is a concern which the
church has consistently supported from the days of the earliest
hospitals set up within religious institutions, to the formation of
the National Health Service which was part of the vision of
Archbishop William Temple before the War, right to the present day.
I have been enormously impressed by the work of our chaplains in
the NHS who make a massive contribution to patient well-being and
who also minister to staff at all levels. I know something of the
pressures, dilemmas and challenges which face healthcare staff, and
I will do all I can to support them in prayer and by mobilising the
support and wisdom of the church wherever I can."
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York said: "Bishop James
brings energy, warmth and imagination to bear on one of the major
issues facing everybody today. Not only the practical provision of
medical facilities, but the whole question of what it means to be
well, is under question as we face the challenges of technological
and medical advances alongside limited resources. For centuries,
the church has been in the business of personal and public health
and well-being - this is a subject on which the Christian faith has
much to say, and we are delighted that Bishop James has agreed to
lead in this field on behalf of us all."