Hasan is a Black African man in his late thirties. He is currently detained at a forensic hospital due to his mental health. Hasan is a Muslim and his faith is very important to him. Hasan was referred to the POhWER advocacy service. Geoff, a POhWER advocate met with Hasan and explained his role and remit and how an advocate can help someone to have a voice and be heard.

Hasan explained to Geoff that because he is Muslim he has to have a Halal meal. At the forensic hospital he is not provided with a weekly menu like his peers on the ward, instead he is given the same Halal meal everyday, which since his admission has been a small portion of meat or fish curry. Hasan explained to Geoff that he does not particularly like curry, especially after having it every day, and that he doesn’t find his meals nutritious or filling. He said he is always still hungry after his evening meal. Hasan requested support to raise this concern and ask if he could be provided with a choice of Halal meals and bigger portions.

Geoff supported Hasan to raise his concern. The ward agreed that Hasan’s portion sizes were small so they provided him with 2 portions each evening from then on. But the meals still continued to be curries and he still did not get a menu choice. The ward said that they had no control over the choice of meal as they are "sent down" to them each day from the main hospital.

Geoff contacted the catering manager at the main hospital and they informed him that the procurement team are currently looking for another catering company to supply the hospital with a more varied Halal menu due to Hasan’s ongoing complaint.

Once a week the ward order a takeaway pizza from a non-Halal establishment. Hasan was not given the option to order a takeaway as it was believed by the staff that this was not consistent with his religious beliefs. Hasan requested Geoff’s support to challenge this decision stating it is his choice how he practises his religion and felt he was being discriminated against because of his cultural beliefs. Geoff supported Hasan to submit a complaint via the Hospitals’ PALS service.

The Matron personally apologised to Hasan for the behaviour of the ward staff in denying him access to the option of takeaway food. She advised that more training will be provided to all staff regarding the Muslim faith and the local Imam would be invited to the ward. Hasan will also be given access to other foods which are supplied to the ward until the catering department locate an appropriate new supplier.

Hasan said that if Geoff wasn’t there to support him through this that he would have given up. He hopes that staff will have more respect and understanding of the Muslim culture and his religious beliefs in the future. He is looking forward to having a choice of different evening meals very soon.