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Religion, Belief or Culture

Population Outcome: People with Diverse Religion, Culture and Beliefs in Suffolk and North East Essex have Health Equality

People’s religious, cultural and other belief systems can impact on their access to, and experience of health and care services in a range of ways. Strict prayer times may interfere with giving medical treatment, and some people may be unable to attend appointments on their religious rest days. People may have ethical objections regarding the content, research and testing of drugs, and may have dietary requirements linked to their beliefs which must be met when they are staying in health or care settings. Religious requirements related to modesty may mean people need to be cared for or treated by someone with the same gender, and women may need a chaperone for their privacy and dignity. People and their families may also have spiritual, cultural or religious requirements at end of life.

The Equality Act 2010 protects you against discrimination on the basis:

  • you are (or are not) of a particular religion
  • you hold (or do not hold) a particular philosophical belief
  • someone thinks you are of a particular religion or hold a particular belief (discrimination by perception)
  • you are connected to someone who has a religion or belief (discrimination by association)

Religion can include an organised religion like Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Buddhism, or a smaller religion like Rastafarianism or Paganism, as long as it has a clear structure and belief system. The Equality Act also covers non-belief or a lack of religion or belief. (source: Equality and Human Rights Commission)


East of England

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The Story Behind the Outcome

Lived Experience


Young Muslim people on discrimination and mental health

Jewish mourning rituals

How to fast as with diabetes - mRamadan program


What does spititual care look like in three care homes in Suffolk?

Healthwatch Suffolk report

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coming soon..

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Published Evidence

Culture, Spirituality and Religion: Migrant Health Guide

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An overview of the spiritual importance's of end-of-life care among the five major faiths of the United Kingdom

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Religion and Culture

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Wider Data

Religion and Health

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Further Reading

Further Information

Our Ambition

What we know matters to people and why

What matters?Why?
I am able to obtain the information I need to stay well.Access to information on the ingredients and research history of treatments enables people to make informed choices for their religious observance.
I have equity of access to health and care servicesFlexibility of appointments and providing time for prayer and other religious rituals enables people to access health and care whilst also being able to worship in accordance with their needs and wishes. Establishing people’s religious need in advance of appointments or meetings reassures that additional adjustments will be made and care will be accessible.
I have high quality careEstablishing and meeting people’s religious needs enables people receiving health and care to be able to maintain their nutrition, have privacy and dignity, and can worship in accordance with their requirements.
I am seen and heardIdentifying and meeting people’s religious needs at end of life, and their family’s compliance with end of life rituals, gives them a positive, meaningful experience at an important time in all their lives.

How will things be different in Suffolk and North East Essex

We will ensure health and care staff are aware of common religious requirements, have the skills and confidence to ask people about their religious needs, and understand how to make adjustments to meet them.We will signpost people to information on medication and treatments so that they can make informed decisions on their care.
We will co-produce flexible services so that when care is delivered and when appointments are made, people feel able to highlight their needs and can observe their religious rituals according to their wishes.We will support people and families to receive religiously and spiritually sensitive care at end of life and in bereavement.

Case Studies – how we are making progress across Suffolk & North East Essex

Publish your case study here 

Publish your case study here 

Publish your case study here 

Publish your case study here 

Relevant plans and strategies


NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board
Joint Forward Plan


Ipswich and East Suffolk
Alliance Delivery Plan

North East Essex 
Alliance Delivery Plan

West  Suffolk
Alliance Delivery Plan

Page last updated: March 2023

Last Updated on 11 June 2024

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