The annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes will take place in July 2022
Please see below the link to Tangney Tours online booking system.
An important message from the Pilgrimage Leadership Team
We all know from the previous two pilgrimages not taking place due to the Coronavirus pandemic that we are not out of the woods yet. Guidance on travel, socialising, vaccinations, and increased health related risks is constantly being reviewed and whatever we advise now may be completely different in a few weeks/months or up to and even during our pilgrimage. We hope any future changes will be positive and covid-19 becomes less of a threat.
We cannot cover all eventualities.
- Volunteers must accept responsibility for determining their own physical ability to join the pilgrimage as a volunteer, considering any underlying medical conditions they may have, which could be adversely affected by travelling to Lourdes and assisting on pilgrimage.
- Some underlying medical conditions may place volunteers at higher risk during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.
- If you are unsure, you should discuss this with your own GP or consultant before booking.
- Those hoping to travel to Lourdes who need assistance or care are generally deemed to be more vulnerable than the younger, healthier members of pilgrimage groups.
- Medical assessments before travel, are essential and will be considered on a case-by-case basis
- There may be some specific medical conditions that place you at higher risk.
- We may not be able to provide the level of support you may require, due to our own reduced numbers,
- Please be aware that if we are unable to safely provide care, at the level you require, we cannot accept responsibility for you on pilgrimage. If you still wish to travel with your own carer, it will be at your own risk.
Medical forms and nursing assessments will be thorough and pilgrimage doctors will make the final decision as to whether pilgrims can be offered the support level they need. It is essential that the information on the medical form is complete and up to date. It is advisable to check with your GP is you are unsure of your own fitness to travel.
In the unlikely event that due to further unforeseen circumstances or government guidelines, the pilgrimage may have to be postponed. This will be disappointing for everyone, but UK and French government guidance must be followed to ensure everyone’s safety.
Travel requirements at the Current Time (France)
- All passengers must be fully vaccinated (this is likely to include having a booster)
- All passengers must sign a declaration of honour (provided by the tour operator)
- Covid passes – digital or paper copy required for entering bars, cafes, hotels etc
- Masks are compulsory in airports, throughout flights and in all indoor areas in Lourdes and within the area of the Domain.
The medical and nursing teams will provide the following support while on pilgrimage in Lourdes:
- Assistance with mobility
- Assistance with washing and dressing etc
- Assistance with personal care
- Assistance with eating and drinking
- Assistance to attend Services and social activities
- Overnight assistance
- Care, company, compassion, confidentiality and commitment
The medical and nursing team will work within their competency.
The medical team can advise simple remedies and treat acute minor conditions with over-the-counter medications available in France.
Doctors will not diagnose or change treatment plans for chronic medical conditions, unless in the event of a medical emergency.
In acute or emergency situations where a pilgrim becomes unexpectedly, or suddenly unwell, assistance will be provided until the local health services are in attendance. At that point the responsibility lies with the local health service provider, with assistance from the tour operator and insurer.
Lourdes (as at 31 January 2022)
- A Health Charter (strict guidelines including cleaning protocol) has been introduced and is strictly adhered to.
- Regular cleaning of touchpoints (door handles, elevator buttons etc)
- Hand sanitiser is freely available in all areas
- Masks are compulsory in all indoor areas and within the Domain, even outside areas
Covid Infection on Pilgrimage
Everyone travelling should be aware of the processes that follow a positive covid test while in France. Current guidelines will no doubt be different by the time of the pilgrimage but things to consider include:
- For everyone who develops symptoms of Covid-19 a lateral flow test must be completed (the tour operator will assist in accessing this).
- If a lateral flow test is negative no further action is required
If a lateral fest is positive:
- Isolation is compulsory until the results of a PCR test are available – this should normally be in your own hotel room
- Roommates will be separated from you. For those in close contact with you lateral flow test is recommended.
If a PCR is positive:
- Isolation in hotel room (or Accueil) for 7 days is compulsory
- Meals will be served in room
- Those attending must wear PPE
- Those who have been in close contact with you may also need to isolate, (roommates will be tested) should they also test positive.
- There may be a need for a family member to fly out to Lourdes to accompany a pilgrim who is unwell and needs assistance but not enough that warrants a hospital admission.
- This will be handled by the tour operator, who will assist with arrangements. The insurer will also be involved.
- If members of the hospitality team become unwell there will be an effect on the remainder whose workload will increase
- There is a risk of delayed return to the UK for anyone who tests positive.
- Insurance – we recommend the tour operator’s insurance which covers Covid-19
- GHIC or valid EHIC card is essential
- In the event of hospitalisation, the support from the medical and nursing team in Lourdes will effectively be handed over to the local health services, with assistance from the tour operator and continuity of care could therefore be affected. Your pilgrimage medical and nursing team may not be able to visit you in hospital
In the event of a pilgrim testing positive and remaining in Lourdes until the isolation period is completed, and where a family member is unable to fly to Lourdes to assist, volunteers from the hospitality team may be able to remain in Lourdes to provide assistance and accompany the pilgrim home at the appropriate time.
This is not guaranteed and will be in consultation with the medical lead, the tour operator and the insurance provider. It also depends on the availability of volunteers.