Multi faith room 1.JPGPatients, visitors and staff at Basingstoke and North Hampshire hospital now have an additional space in which to pray.

A new multi faith room, which contains washing facilities for Muslims, is now available as part of the chaplaincy facilities at Basingstoke hospital.

The room was officially opened by the Mayor of Basingstoke, Cllr Diane Taylor, with Basingstoke MP Maria Miller and Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, also in attendance.

Members from the Hindu, Christian and Muslim communities and representatives from the Inter Faith Network for Basingstoke were also present at the opening.

Dr Mohammed Shahir is one of the members of staff who will be using the multi faith room on a regular basis.

He said: “I am very happy with this expansion and I think this is a very positive move forward for our Trust in terms of inclusivity, respect and understanding.

“I am a Muslim and although we feel very welcome to use the space in the Chapel, sometimes it is difficult to focus on prayers without the correct facilities, like the washroom, but with this new development it is nice to have a space to really focus on our prayers.”

Vakey Eappen, lead chaplain at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Basingstoke hospital, as well as hospitals in Andover and Winchester, said:  “Our Trust is now able to offer medical and spiritual care to all faiths, which is excellent.

“I’m so pleased as it has been my dream since I joined Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust to be able to celebrate and recognise different ways of life, beliefs, attitudes to faith and religion, allowing us to add further value to our well-recognised work.”

Multi faith room 2.JPGImam Mohammed Achbib, of the Albirr Foundation Mosque in Sarum Hill, Basingstoke, also attended the grand opening.

He said: “These facilities are so important for people of all faiths as it will provide a space for quiet reflection as well as a peaceful place for prayer within their place of work.”