Prison health 'not good enough' despite overhauls


originally published by: BBC News
published: 28th May 2010

Prison healthcare is still not good enough – four years after it was revamped to bring it up to NHS standards, a report claims. The joint Care Quality Commission and Inspectorate of Prisons study said while there were signs of improvement, a number of areas of weakness remained.

In particular, it highlighted drug treatment as a major concern. The Department of Health said good progress had been made since the survey was carried out in 2007. The inspectors carried out reviews of 21 NHS trusts, responsible for more than a quarter of England’s jails.

All prisons have some form of medical centre, often with their own pharmacies, nurses and doctors and with access to regional hospitals for patients who require more intensive care.

The standard of prison care has been in the spotlight since the mid 1990s when the then chief inspector of prisons, Sir David Ramsbotham, called for change. In 2006, primary care trusts, which are in charge of local NHS services, took over responsibility for care from the prison service.

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