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Improving prisoner healthcare

Published: 04 Jun 2018 11:19

£100k fund to support innovation and partnerships.

The wellbeing of prisoners is to be improved through funding to support partnerships between prison staff and healthcare professionals.

A new £100,000 fund will support local projects in prisons involving NHS boards and the Scottish Prison Service (SPS). All prisons can identify their own priorities and bid for funding, as long as they are joint projects.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said:

“Everyone has a right of equal access to healthcare, whether they are in prison or not. Healthcare in prison has improved in recent years, but prisoners often have extreme or complex health needs. It is important we address those properly, not just for the wellbeing of prisoners but because the impact is felt by families, communities and our public services.

“The prison environment means the only way to improve services is by the NHS and SPS working together. In some prisons, this already works well. In others, the different cultures of the organisations makes this difficult, and this fund will improve partnership working.

“Importantly, we are not imposing answers on prisons but trusting the judgement and commitment of frontline staff to find the solutions that work for them.”

National Prisoner Healthcare Network Chair Alex McMahon said:

“As the prison population changes, so do the healthcare needs of prisoners. People aged over 50 are the fastest-growing group in Scotland’s prisons, bringing new healthcare challenges and increased age-related conditions that are often difficult to treat in a secure environment. Providing quality healthcare means close cooperation between health and prison staff, and this fund is a welcome resource to promote and foster partnership working and help improve the care provided in Scotland’s prisons.”

Scottish Prison Service head of corporate affairs Tom Fox said:

“We welcome the establishment of this collaboration fund, and we are looking forward to working with NHS colleagues on its implementation.”

Background

The fund is part of the Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care in Prisons Programme to address issues including: integrating health and social care in prisons; making better use of technology; sharing best practice; and being more transparent about the quality of care and the state of prisoners’ health.