A “Health in Ramadan” campaign has been launched to help Muslims who plan to fast during the festival ensure they stay healthy.
Barts and The London NHS Trust has developed a programme to ensure that Muslims meeting their religious obligations during Ramadan do not jeopardise their health.
The programme was launched after hospital staff noticed some Muslims who wanted to fast during Ramadan were failing to take their medication properly and missing hospital and other medical appointments. Patients with serious illnesses such as cancer or diabetes were causing the most concern.
Nuala Close, lead cancer nurse at Barts and The London, said: “Our latest figures show a 20% reduction in attended appointments over Ramadan. Anecdotally we always knew it was quiet over this period.
“What worried me most was that I sat in a clinic last year for just one morning, and three of the seven patients booked for treatment that day cancelled because of Ramadan. All three were suspected of having cancer.
“We realised then that something urgently needed to be done to prevent people from jeopardising their health unnecessarily.”
A booklet entitled “Keeping Healthy in Ramadan” - available in Bengali, Somali and English - has also been distributed to GPs, surgeries and clinics throughout east London and will be handed out at mosques and Muslim community centres in the weeks leading up to Ramadan.