“The journey of a patient in hospital can be difficult and at times traumatic. The satisfaction I get from seeing a patient’s mood being lifted is what I love most about the job.”

Fazal Hassan is the Muslim chaplain and Imam for ELHT. Based at the Spiritual Care Centre at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital his role offers patients and colleagues spiritual, religious and pastoral services as well as emotional and psychological support. Fazal has been a comforting and invaluable presence in the hospital since 1994.

He said:

Through one-to-one and collective prayers, spiritual advice and counselling I offer support to patients and colleagues. I also provide end of life care and bereavement support for patients and their families.

I want to reach out to patients and serve them in a way that brings hope, strength, confidence and acceptance of their illness as well as encouragement to cope.

Fazal HassanThe pandemic was a very challenging time. I was dealing mainly with patients who had little hope for survival while others faced anxiety and psychological trauma. Often alone without any family members, supporting end-of-life patients was difficult. I also often worked outside the hospital setting in the community helping and supporting families whose loved one was in hospital.

I don’t expect any acknowledgment or recognition for what I do but it was very special being awarded Employee of the Month in October 2020 – especially because it was a patient who had nominated me.

The patient was impressed that I had invested a lot of my time to sit and listen to his concerns, follow up on his condition with the clinical team, give him the added assurances and advise the staff on how to deal with certain things. I advised and encouraged the patient on how he could still physically continue to offer his prayers despite his medical condition.  

The award gave meaning to what we all do in the team – not just me – and showed what we are about and gave us a sense of encouragement to continue what we are doing as chaplains.

I believe as a hospital chaplain to be allowed in a person's life and develop a spiritual encounter and connection through our human spirit and spiritual intervention is a real privilege.   

I’m very proud to be part of ELHT and work for NHS. I believe this is a blessing from God and a platform granted to me to be able to assist the vulnerable, visit the sick, support the needy and be able to make real life changes to people’s health conditions.