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Variations in prison mental health services in England and Wales

Forrester, Andrew, Exworthy, Tim, Olumoroti, Olumuyiwa, Sessay, Mohammed, Parrott, Janet, Spencer, Sarah-Jane and Whyte, Sean 2013. Variations in prison mental health services in England and Wales. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 36 (3-4) , pp. 326-332. 10.1016/j.ijlp.2013.04.007

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Abstract

In responding to high levels of psychiatric morbidity amongst prisoners and recognising earlier poor quality prison mental health care, prison mental health in-reach teams have been established in England and Wales over the last decade. They are mostly provided by the National Health Service (NHS), which provides the majority of UK healthcare services. Over the same period, the prison population has grown to record levels, such that prisons in England and Wales now contain almost 90,000 of the world's overall prison population of over 10 million people (roughly the size of Paris or Istanbul). This study provides an overview of mental health in-reach services in prisons in England and Wales, including variations between them, through a telephone survey of senior staff in all prisons and young offender institutions in England and Wales. 73% of prisons took part; of them 13% had no in-reach team at all (usually low security establishments) and the majority of services were run by NHS teams, usually according to a generic community mental health team (CMHT) model rather than other specialist models. Team size was unrelated to prison size. Each nurse covered around 500 prisoners, each doctor over 3700. Many provided few or no healthcare cells and 24-h psychiatric cover (including on-call cover) was uncommon. Despite developments in recent years, mental health in-reach services still fall short of community equivalence and there is wide variation in service arrangements that cannot be explained by prison size or function. The aim of community equivalence has not yet been reached in prison healthcare and a more sophisticated measure of service improvement and standardisation would now be useful to drive and monitor future development.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0160-2527
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2021 14:00
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/139687

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