A non-Muslim practice manager is fasting during the holy month of Ramadan in solidarity with her Muslim patients.
Vicky Pickering, practice manager at Hollins Grove Surgery in Darwen, Lancashire took the decision to fast with her patients last Thursday.
Ms Pickering said: ‘At work, I am used to having some snacks throughout the day.
‘It’s been especially difficult not to drink water during the hot weather but it made me think about all the people that are fasting and the patients have been fantastic and very supportive.’
‘It was my turn to make an effort’
Dr Zaki Patel, a well-known GP from Blackburn, took over Hollins Grove Surgery in January 2018.
Since Dr Patel moved to the surgery, the practice has experienced a surge in the number of black and ethnic minority (BME) patients – some of whom are Muslim – and now counts over 300 BME patients.
Ms Pickering said: ‘I was already thinking about fasting as I did not want to eat in front of the new GP out of respect for him, but after we saw an increase in number of Muslim patients, I thought I would do it for them as well.
‘Back in Blackburn, they were used to reception staff who could speak their own language, but here our staff only speak English.
‘The patients had to make an effort to adjust to our practice and now it was my turn to make an effort for them.’
‘Closer to patients’
Ms Pickering said her patients were ‘shocked’ when they found out what she was doing, especially after they learned she was planning to fast for the entire month of Ramadan.
However, she added that both Dr Patel – who is also Muslim – and the patients were very supportive of her decision.
She said: ‘Being able to tell the new patients who have registered with us that ‘I am doing this’ has brought me closer to them.
‘I would encourage other practice managers to take up similar initiatives as it will be must appreciated by the patients.’