My name is Yunus Dudhwala and I am Head of Chaplaincy and Bereavement Services and Muslim Chaplain at Newham University Hospital NHS Trust.
I started work in the NHS at Newham University Hospital NHS Trust as a volunteer Imam / Muslim Chaplain in 1998. After 3 months of volunteering, I was offered a part-time contract of 3.5 hours a week as the Muslim Chaplain. This increased to 7 hours a week in 2001.
In February 2003 I applied for the full-time post of Head of Chaplaincy, and was successful and became the first person in the UK from a minority faith to lead a Chaplaincy Department in the NHS.
Since my appointment as Chaplain in all the different guises mentioned above, I have worked to help many patients, families and staff at very difficult and challenging times. I have worked a normal shift 9 - 5 Monday to Friday, but have always made myself available out of hours for most of my employment over the past 10 years. From patients with minor illnesses, to major illnesses and especially with patients at the time of death, I have attended as the Chaplain to try my best to enhance their experience along with their families who are as distressed or sometimes even more distressed than the patient. I have helped devise and change policies, practices and environments in the Trust to improve the experience for patient and families.
I was invited by the College of Healthcare Chaplains in 2003 to join their National Professional Committee as their Faiths Adviser to advise the College on minority faith issues and have held this post since.