Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hospital staff told to make sure Muslim patients' beds face Mecca five times a day

by Gwyneth Rees from The Daily Mail (UK)

Nurses are being encouraged to spend valuable time turning around the beds of Muslim patients up to five times a day - so they can face Mecca. In a bid to promote cultural understanding, they are also expected to provide patients with running water so they can wash before prayer. And then, of course, they are required to turn the beds back around to return the wards to normality. The measures are being pursued by Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust to ensure Muslim patients have a "more comfortable stay in hospital". Hundreds of staff have attended tax-payer-funded workshops with Muslim GPs and ethnic-minority support groups on how best to help patients. If the measure is deemed "practically possible" and does not impinge on other patients, then it should be carried out. And if it is not practical, nurses are encouraged to find them a bed that faces Mecca permanently. But an experienced nurse at Dewsbury and District Hospital in Yorkshire where the ideas are being tested, has blasted the scheme. She said: "It would be easier to create Muslim-only wards with every bed facing Mecca than deal with this."

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