A RELIGIOUS leader believes 'costs have replaced compassion' within the NHS.

Preaching at his Easter Sunday service, the Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Nicholas Reade, is to raise ‘questions of concern’ about recent social and political controversies.

He will ask the congregation: "What can we do when the most vulnerable are possibly put in danger of receiving inadequate treatment because balance sheets have replaced the costs of compassion in a National Health Service which looks to be in danger of becoming rapidly privatised?"

He says the future of the National Health Service, 'cash for influence' allegations, disability rights and the tanker drivers' dispute are all matters of Christian concern.

He continues: "How can we value opinions when the treasurer of the majority party in the Coalition suggests it will cost a quarter of a million pounds to enjoy an influential dinner in 10 Downing Street?

"We have to ask: 'Are we replacing God's values if we watch in silence as sick and disabled people, and single-parent poor families, are denied the right to fullness of life by economic policy that overrules creative care?'"

The Bishop will speak about the concerns of the medical professionals, adequate training and working conditions for fuel tanker drivers, £20 million of increased costs for historic churches and even the temperature of pasties and its effects on the food industry.

He adds: "The Church, formed in the power of the Resurrection and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, cannot remain silent where people are suffering and wherever there is injustice."