Health staff 'need cultural guide'

Herald Series: Health care staff need guidelines on the religious and cultural needs of patients, says a leading surgeon Health care staff need guidelines on the religious and cultural needs of patients, says a leading surgeon

A leading surgeon has called for the development of a national training guide to help staff care for patients with specific religious and cultural needs.

Aiman Alzetani, a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, said the current lack of basic training and information for healthcare professionals across the UK had created "obstacles" for staff and "disconnected" them from some patients.

He spoke out ahead of a presentation on raising cultural awareness at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust's annual equality and diversity conference.

He said: "Unfortunately, as religious and cultural awareness is not currently an essential part of training and development for healthcare professionals, many remain innocently unaware of its importance to some groups in society.

"It can be a source of frustration for clinical staff when patients do not seem to be co-operating but, in the case of Muslim patients for example, it could be something as simple as someone trying to pass them food in their left hand, which they wash with, instead of their right.

"Muslim patients are also required to hand wash before and after eating and, if bed bound, may need a portable hand wash facility which, again, can seem odd or unnecessary to those who are not familiar with such processes."

Mr Alzetani said these instances were common, particularly among patients unable to communicate clearly, but there were also many other scenarios seen regularly in hospitals nationwide.

He continues: "It is not widely known Muslims are not allowed to shake hands with a member of the opposite sex, that intoxicating drugs are not permissible or that not all male family members are allowed to visit a female relative without her hijab on.

"These are all situations that could cause issues between staff and patients, but they could be easily avoided with some basic training or information to help guide staff - and that goes for any religion or culture which involves sensitive traditions or rituals."

He said he would now push for the development of a pocket or ward-based guide on all religions and cultures for use across the NHS, as well as the introduction of staff 'culture champions' in hospitals to offer advice, training and support.

Comments (2)

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9:58pm Mon 2 Jun 14

welshmen says...

The health care in this Country was first class before the masses of foreign Immigrants came here decades ago, according to Mr Alzetani we now have to change to suite Muslims, Muslims new what Country they were coming to for a better life, or so we are led to believe, these Immigrants would do better going to an Islamic state who can cater for all their needs including the way they treat woman, perhaps Mr Alzetani would be more use looking after his own people in the Country our NHS pinched him from.

This is a Christian Country not an Islamic State, when Islam treats Christians with the respect they deserve the better for all, because they haven't learned our culture or how to treat the Native British people, Muslims are only faithful to Islam not the host Country they Colonise, to wipe your backside with a bare hand is filthy, this is the twenty second century not the seventh, I would prefer to see a rubber glove on that left hand if treated by a Muslim heath worker, especially when they also can't wash in ward hand cleaners because there might be Alcohol in the cleaner, another risk to our health, whey do we always have to change, they don't mix or Marry into our Culture they are not allowed by their Religion, yet you all say nothing just like lemmings heading for the Cliff....The truth will prevail over evil....
The health care in this Country was first class before the masses of foreign Immigrants came here decades ago, according to Mr Alzetani we now have to change to suite Muslims, Muslims new what Country they were coming to for a better life, or so we are led to believe, these Immigrants would do better going to an Islamic state who can cater for all their needs including the way they treat woman, perhaps Mr Alzetani would be more use looking after his own people in the Country our NHS pinched him from. This is a Christian Country not an Islamic State, when Islam treats Christians with the respect they deserve the better for all, because they haven't learned our culture or how to treat the Native British people, Muslims are only faithful to Islam not the host Country they Colonise, to wipe your backside with a bare hand is filthy, this is the twenty second century not the seventh, I would prefer to see a rubber glove on that left hand if treated by a Muslim heath worker, especially when they also can't wash in ward hand cleaners because there might be Alcohol in the cleaner, another risk to our health, whey do we always have to change, they don't mix or Marry into our Culture they are not allowed by their Religion, yet you all say nothing just like lemmings heading for the Cliff....The truth will prevail over evil.... welshmen
  • Score: 1

12:12pm Tue 3 Jun 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Hand washing before eating should be encouraged across all cultures.
Hand washing before eating should be encouraged across all cultures. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0
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