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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Thrower

Archbishops’ Care Commission report ‘welcomed’ but ‘what next?’

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby announced the report’s launch, observing wryly that ‘it was commissioned two prime ministers and four health secretaries ago!’ The launch event in London this morning attracted more than 150 people; from peers, local government directors of adult social services and charities, to many different disability rights groups.

Commission cochair Dr Anna Dixon on the stage with Archbishop Justin Welby.

The report was welcomed across the board, but as one charity director from south London said, ‘what next?’… and where is the money coming from to implement such proposals, or ‘are we just waiting for the next government.’

BRF issued a news release this morning detailing the report’s main recommendations and Anna Chaplaincy’s response. Anna Chaplaincy pioneer, Debbie Thrower, praised its bold vision:

‘Anna Chaplaincy welcomes the fresh thinking on this vitally important issue. The first step towards improvement is always acknowledging what is wrong. The admission that the current system of social care is “broken” echoes what’s been said by successive governments for three decades. I hope very much that those with power to change the way social care operates will rise to the challenge of the complete “redesign” of the system outlined in this report. ‘Much careful thought has gone into exploring those Christian principles underpinning the vision for a far more humane system. We can’t afford not to make social care more efficient from top to bottom because every citizen in time stands to benefit and each one of us will be impoverished if, yet again, the opportunity for far-reaching reform slips by.’ – Debbie Thrower, pioneer of Anna Chaplaincy

After the archbishop’s introduction – and the screening of thought-provoking videos made with the help of the charity Livability – a panel of invited guests delivered their verdicts on the report which calls among other things for a National Care Covenant.

Commission cochairs Bishop James Newcome and Anna Dixon.

Commission cochair Dr Anna Dixon described how she and her fellow commissioners started with values. ‘We started where we want to get not where we are now.’ She went on to admit, ‘We recognise that this is an ambitious call.’ But that ‘we all stand to benefit in a society where all flourish.’

Bishop of Carlisle, James Newcome, the Church of England’s lead on health and social care (who was also cochair) added that care is, in fact, all about interdependent relationships, whereas what we so often see at present is ‘transactional.’

Panel comments ranged from it being ‘an excellent report’, one stressing the importance of ‘spirituality in the report, when spirituality is so often overlooked’, to another panellist wanting to see ‘options for making social care a universal service’, while yet another underlined that the system as it is just ‘doesn’t work’.

Anna Friend Graeme Moore, Anna Chaplain Beverley Moore and BRF’s Debbie Thrower attending today’s report launch.

Anna Chaplaincy was among the organisations which submitted evidence to the commission during its 18 months of deliberations.

Commissioners, led by Bishop James, visited Kendal Anna Chaplain, Beverley Moore, last summer, following her to a local care home in the Lakes where she ministers.

Today, Beverley and her husband Graeme (who is an Anna Friend in Kendal) travelled to Euston where the event was held in the Quakers’ Friends House.

Both in the report’s introduction and in the acknowledgements, Anna Chaplaincy was highlighted – along with Parish Nursing and Linking Lives UK – as one of the recent innovations in social care.

In his closing remarks, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell declared the report to be ‘a great beginning… as together we build a fair and just society where everyone can flourish’. He warned that ‘muddling along as we are… is costing an awful lot more in people’s lives where they’re not flourishing’.




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