The annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia is one of the World's forth most events. It is estimated between three to four Million people participate in it from all corners of the World. This puts the local infrastructure under enormous pressure and the Saudi authorities perform magnificently dealing with such large numbers of people. No other country has to deal with such a large event on an annual basis.
However to reduce some of this pressure from the local Saudi Authorities and as part of their duties to its Citizens a number of countries send a Hajj Delegation. For example all the Arab and Muslim countries send teams to help their Citizens. During the Hajj period, the British Hajj Delegation intends to do the same and assist the approximately 25,000 UK nationals who annually travel for the Hajj. The UK was the first Western non-Muslim country to do so.
The British Hajj Delegation provides 'on the ground' medical support and has been functioning for over ten years. The first Delegation was sent in 2000 (Hijri 1420) thanks largely to the efforts of Lord Nazir Ahmed, a Peer in the House of Lords of the British Parliament, and other campaigners. The BHD has been led by Lord Adam Patel, another Peer in the House of Lords of the British Parliament, for the last ten years and includes a Chief Medical Advisor (CMA) along with seven other volunteer Doctors, including usually one or two female Doctors.
The British Hajj Delegation is based in Makkah and during the days of Hajj in Mina. The clinical services are usually operational for around 3 weeks. During Hajj 2009/1430 there were approximately 23,000 British pilgrims performing Hajj and in total almost 3000 patients were supported within the three weeks. The British Hajj Delegation did not deploy during Hajj 2010 (Hijri 1431) due to a cease in funding. However due to the kindness of our sponsors we, God willing, intend to be providing services again this coming Hajj 2011 (Hijri 1432).
The British Hajj Delegation is extremely grateful to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the Government of the United Kingdom for supporting it since its inception until 2009. Equally we are extremely grateful to the Ambassador, His Excellency HRH Prince Mohammed Bin Nawaf Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in London and to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj, initially under the leadership of Dr Iyad Al Madani and currently Dr Fouad Al Farsi for their continued assistance to the British Hajj Delegation.