Meetings, events and religious services
All staff are asked to adhere to guidelines for minimising the spread of COVID-19 whilst undertaking daily activities. Therefore, the following things should be considered.
Chairs of all meetings to consider the following:
- Avoid losing sight of what has already been identified as priorities for the year.
- Business critical/important meetings - identify what these are for their individual teams/departments. Liaising with colleagues in other CSUs/Corporate areas as required. Where a meeting can be held virtually and will be productive, they should still go ahead.
- Please consider meetings over the phone through teleconference. Our IT team are currently working through the options of providing video/virtual conferencing.
- Can attendance be limited to key individuals?
- Can larger rooms be used to ensure greater personal space?
- Can meetings be undertaken outdoors?
For staff not physically located together but need to communicate with others:
- Use telephone as first option
- Email if can’t speak on the phone
- Can duties be adapted to prevent staff visiting other wards, clinical areas
- All stalls and stands in reception areas are cancelled until further notice
- The March Long Service Awards have been cancelled
Public religious services
We have had to take the difficult decision to suspend all public services and prayers in the Trust with immediate effect. This includes Muslim Friday prayers and Christian Holy Communion, Eucharist, Mass.
The Trust’s quiet and prayer rooms, along with the chapels remain open. Although we do ask that staff don't gather here and physically distance themselves when seeking quiet or prayer. We also ask people to bring their own prayer books and mats, for infection control reasons, but the chaplains can provide religious material.
We fully recognise the place that faith and belief have in people’s lives and the impact this will have. Many religious communities have made resources for private prayer, or streaming of prayers and services available and the chaplains can support you to access this.
The chaplaincy continues to support inpatients and in an emergency the on-call chaplain can be called via the switchboard.
Ramadan is expected to start on the 23/24 April (depending on moon sightings) and lasts a month. Muslims observing Ramadan abstain completely from both food and drink between dawn and sunset. While fasting is an important part of Ramadan, it is also a time of self-reflection and self-evaluation for Muslims.
This year, guidance from the Muslim Council of Britain and the British Islamic Medical Association says that healthcare staff required to provide care to Covid-19 patients at real risk of dehydration and making clinical errors due to wearing PPE and long shifts are exempt. This is, however, a personal decision and some in the exemption categories still choose to observe Ramadan.
Managers are expected to:
- Support their staff as far as reasonably possible to observe Ramadan, which may include adjusting breaks, work patterns, approving annual leave and providing temporary space for prayer. Unlike previous years, this may prove more challenging if resources are reduced due to staff absence from self-isolation and illness.
- Regularly monitor observance to maintain the health and safety of both staff and patients in their care.
Staff are expected to:
- Work collaboratively with managers to seek solutions in observing Ramadan where challenges exist.
- Fulfil their roles and responsibilities safely with no risk to their health and safety and that of the patients in their care.
LTHT Chaplaincy has been involved in developing the national guidance around Ramadan and will be distributing information cards to wards on what this time means for staff and patients. You can read this online by clicking here.
We have also received a limited number of packs of Ajwah dates, black seed oil, honey, Zam Zam water, rosary beads and some prayer booklets, which hold significance for Muslims. Staff can request them for their Muslim patients, particularly as visiting has been restricted.
Please contact extension 65935 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order a pack for a patient or ask any questions about accessing any chaplaincy support during this time.
Should you have any questions about supporting Ramadan or other religions or beliefs in the workplace, please email email@example.com. Further guidance to help both managers and staff during Ramadan has been produced by NHS England and NHS Improvement.