Healthcare in Prison
South Eastern Trust is responsible for the delivery of Healthcare across the three 3 Prison settings regionally, HMP Maghaberry, HMP Magilligan and HMP Hydebank Wood College (incorporating Ash House female prison).
Healthcare in Prison (HiP) is an Integrated Primary Care model delivered by a highly motivated multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals who want to make a difference, improve the health outcomes for all people in prison and make Northern Ireland a safer place.
Improving and better the mental health, physical health and substance misuse needs of people in secure environments has the potential to improve their quality of life while inside and have a lasting impact on their health beyond release. This will have a further positive impact on the wider community.
The team aims to provide opportunities for people to develop a positive attitude towards their health and well-being on an individual basis or through public health initiatives.
Our team comprising of GPs, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Dentists, Primary Care Nurses, Mental Health Nurses, Pharmacists and Allied Health Professionals (AHP) supported by a health development lead, an engagement lead and a governance lead all underpinned by a business support team find themselves in a unique environment with opportunities for strong, committed multi-disciplinary team working.
The service is focused on providing care that is at least equivalent and consistent to that available within community GP led health centres and includes input from in-reach services.
HiP staff work collaboratively with our partners including Northern Ireland Prison Service, and voluntary organisations to meet the needs of people in our care.
Entry to Prison
Everyone who enters Prison will be offered a comprehensive physical health assessment by our nursing team, which endeavours to ascertain and meet their immediate healthcare needs. In addition to this, everyone who enters Prison will also be offered a face to face Mental Health screen by a registered Mental Health Professional within five days of being committed.
HiP Business Support Team connects with patients’ Community GP / Pharmacy and relevant healthcare teams where known, to ensure any treatment /appointments that have begun in the community can be followed up for our patients whilst they are in our care. This information is gathered using patient interviews and Northern Ireland Electronic Care Records, but we understand that sometimes this does not provide a comprehensive list of those who are involved.
If you are a healthcare team, that is aware of a patient who is open to your service who has entered custody and you have not been contacted, please contact us via the contact details below. Healthcare in Prison always welcome the opportunity for patients’ keyworkers from Community Services to keep in touch with us so that you can are updated on your patients progress. Onsite visits can be arranged by contacting the office via email below.
It is important that any appointments that are received to our patients’ home addresses while they are in custody that these are forwarded to Healthcare in Prison. Contact details below.
Healthcare during Custody
Each residential location has an assigned Primary Care Nurse. Patients’ healthcare needs that arise during custody will, in the first instance, be assessed by Primary Healthcare Nursing staff who will advise of next steps, as appropriate. This may include referral to, HiP GP, HiP AHP services, HiP Dental team and / or HiP Mental Health and Addictions Team.
HiP Mental Health Team is based on a stepped care mental health model to ensure people with common mental health disorders are helped to choose the most effective interventions and those requiring treatment that is more intensive are seen by the appropriate professional.
Needs that cannot be met within Healthcare in Prison settings will require in reach or external appointment and these are arranged as needed. If physical and/or mental healthcare needs extend beyond what can be safely managed within a community setting, transfer to acute settings is facilitated to meet that need.
Screening and Health Promotion
As part of the general primary care service provision, all individuals who live in custody can avail of regional health screening programmes such as breast, cervical and bowel cancer, diabetic retinopathy and abdominal aortic aneurysm. Sexual health, blood borne virus and latent tuberculosis (TB) screening are also provided and newly committed prisoners are offered Heptitis B vaccinations, in line with the regional protocol for flu, pneumococcal and shingles.
HiP adopts a ‘whole prison’ community development approach to health promotion within the prison environment. This is to encourage both those who work and live in a secure setting to get involved and take responsibility for improving their health and wellbeing which will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the entire prison community. Our Engagement Team in partnership with other SET staff facilitate a range of services that contribute to health education, disease prevention, health promotion interventions.
Concerns during Custody
If you have a family member, who is currently in Prison, and you have concerns regarding their health and wellbeing please contact us on the details below and we will endeavour to discuss with you, within the limits of patient confidentiality.
Release from Prison
When a patient is released from Prison, HiP will update NIECR, and will forward a discharge summary to the patients GP (if known) or to the Business Support Organisation if they are not registered.
If a release date is known, HiP staff will contact relevant Community Health and Social Care Services in advance, to advise them of this and will provide a discharge summary, to facilitate the transfer of are back to your team. Please be aware, that sometimes release addresses and dates can change with minimal notice which is outside of the control of HiP.
Healthcare in Prison Careers
If you are a healthcare professional who is interested in a career in Healthcare in Prison or even just learning more , please do not hesitate to contact us on the numbers below. We will happily arrange for a relevant member of staff to contact you to let you know more about this dynamic and innovative team.