Ramadan is expected to start on the 22nd or 23rd of March, depending on the sighting of the moon, marking the beginning of one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar ending with the first day of Eid, either 29 or 30 days later. Muslims around the world will begin fasting from sunrise to sunset, as well as increasing spiritual devotional acts such as prayer, giving to charity and strengthening family ties. Around 2.8 million Muslims celebrate Ramadan in the UK, representing almost 5% of the total population- so there is a large community.
Celebrating Ramadan in the UK
Ramadan is celebrated in the UK both at home and in the community, with mosques holding more frequent services over the month. Communal prayer is encouraged as one of the pillars of Ramadan is to increase community ties. You can find your nearest mosque here. Lots of organisations also hold virtual services, including virtual Iftars, to allow those who are unable to attend in person to take part in community prayer.
There are also several Eid celebrations that take place across the UK. Mosques across the country hold Eid prayers and host large meals to be enjoyed with families and the wider community—as well as celebrations held the weekend after Eid, such as Eid in the Square, held in Trafalgar Square in London that features live entertainment, stalls, exhibitions and children’s activities.
Celebrating Ramadan in the NHS
The NHS is a diverse and inclusive employer and is supportive of employees observing Ramadan. There are a range of policies in place to ensure that staff are supported. This can include being more flexible with shifts, allowing breaks for prayer and being conscious of employers needs while fasting. Religion is a protected characteristic in the UK, meaning that employers should accommodate the needs of fasting employees.
Working as a doctor in the NHS can be demanding, which can make fasting a challenge, though some doctors find that fasting can help their professional lives as it encourages organisation, helps them establish a routine, and complete tasks. Though fasting can be difficult, doctors working in the NHS observing Ramadan have put together some useful tips for managing. Some doctors found working night shifts, when they are able to eat, to be more difficult than working during the day as eating times can clash with shifts. You may also be able to take more frequent breaks to rest during the day in place of a longer lunch break.
Some doctors find that taking some annual leave can be helpful for adjusting to the first few days of fasting, as well as making sure they are as hydrated as possible during non-fasting hours and maintaining a healthy diet during the fast.
How are Remedium celebrating Ramadan?
Usama, our Women’s and Children’s and Radiology Divisional Manager, will celebrate Ramadan by spending evenings in the mosque observing Taraweh Prayer after breaking fast, and using the time during fasting to increase in spiritual devotion, reflecting on the year gone by while still working as hard in placing doctors within Women & Childrens.
The UK is a home away from home for all our international NHS doctors. The NHS’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workforce is well recognised by its doctors- and as an international recruiter, we are proud to contribute to this. If you are an international doctor considering moving to the UK to work in the NHS, we would love to hear from you! Register your details here and one of our expert team will be in touch to see how we can assist you on your journey to the UK.