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Hospital chiefs who ordered nurses to turn around the beds of Muslim patients so they could face Mecca five times a day, have issued a climbdown.

Hospital staff will now only be asked to perform the duty for the terminally ill.

The measures were put in place by Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust to ensure Muslim patients have a "more comfortable stay in hospital". But nurses were obliged to break off from their health care duties to perform the ritual.

The pilot scheme came after hundreds of staff attended tax-payer-funded workshops with Muslim GPs and ethnic-minority support groups on how best to help patients.

During these meetings, nurses were told that if a patient asked for water to bathe in, or for their bed to be turned to face Mecca, this should be considered.

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