People in prison are entitled to the same standard of healthcare as those in the wider community.
Sadly, all too often, this is not the case. Despite responsibility for the commissioning of healthcare passing to the NHS, healthcare provision in prison remains variable and often substandard.
Commonly, there is a failure to adequately assess the healthcare needs of a person when they first arrive in prison or to obtain their previous medical records. Regularly, there is a reluctance to believe a person or to prescribe them the necessary medication.
All too frequently, there is an unwillingness to refer a person to Hospital for further tests and treatment and then long waits to attend scheduled appointments – made worse by the common cancellation of these appointments.
There is often a failure to properly consider people for early release on compassionate grounds when terminally ill, severely incapacitated or their detention is endangering their health.
Even more fundamentally, there can also be a failure to consider whether those people with severe mental health problems should be detained in prison at all or transferred to a secure Hospital for more appropriate treatment.