Hospital Imam recognised for Chaplaincy role

Hospital Imam recognised for Chaplaincy role

Blackburn Royal Hospital Imam Fazal Hassan been recognised by the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen Council for his services throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Imam Fazal Hassan has received the Mayoral Award at a presentation attended by Mayor Coun Suleman Khonat and Chief Executive of the Borough Council, Denise Park.  The entire Blackburn Royal Hospital chaplaincy team has received praise for their services in a period where patients were often isolated from their family members due to the Covid restrictions in place by the Government.

Imam Fazal had a huge role in navigating this delicate course for the Muslim Community of the borough. Mayor Coun Suleman Khonat said:

‘The services of the hospital chaplain and the Imam were absolutely vital during the pandemic in order to meet the demands of the patients in their last moments when no other family members could be by the bedside of their loved ones.

Imam Fazal told us that there was time at the height of the pandemic when he was dealing with 3 and occasionally 4 deaths a day.  After the death of a Muslim patient, part of managing the family’s grief is to provide practical support to manage the timely release of the deceased and to provide advice, guidance, support and counselling for the close family members.’

Blackburn with Darwen was one of the more affected areas throughout the pandemic, with the East Lancashire Hospital’s NHS Trust doing tremendous work in coping with the increased pressure on their workload. Canon Andrew Horsfall, Head Chaplaincy of Spiritual Care Services at ELHT (East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust) said:

‘Imam Fazal, along with his colleagues in the Chaplaincy Team gave their all to minister to patients, families and colleagues during the Covid pandemic. Fazal carried the work of supporting patients and families from the Muslim community with great dedication and commitment. He has at his heart, a desire to serve those most in need of spiritual care and this shone through particularly during the difficult Covid times. His award is well deserved.’

The physical distress Covid-19 brought to its patients quite often overshadowed the psychological impact that coping with such a virus brought. Imam Fazal saw people at their most vulnerable but described his experiences as being a blessing of God as he was there to make a difference when patients needed him most, stating:

‘People may sometimes forget what you said or did, but never forget how you made them feel.  Too often we underestimate the power of touch or a smile or kind words when it really matters.’

The Mayoral Award recognises a calibre of service and contribution made towards the community and the recognition of Imam Fazal example of what that is.

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