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Senior nurses under fire over Mecca bed claim

Senior nurses in Yorkshire have defended themselves over an initiative to make wards more culturally aware.

Nurses at Dewsbury and District Hospital, part of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, have been taking a training course to make them more sensitive to the needs of Muslim patients.

Changes suggested in the course include positioning beds of very ill Muslim patients to face Mecca, if requested, providing halal meal options and providing shower facilities as well as bathing so patients can wash in running water, as dictated by Islam.

But a number of tabloid newspapers reported that nurses had been told to stop clinical work five times a day to turn beds to face Mecca.

Tracey McErlain-Burns, the trust’s chief nurse and director of patient experience, said the trust’s statement had been wrongly interpreted by the national press.

‘Nurses are not being removed from their duties to move patients’ beds towards Mecca. Moving patients’ beds for prayer five times a day has not been suggested as part of this workshop and staff have not been ordered to do this,’ she said.

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