Healthcare in prisons to be investigated by MSPs


Access to and the effectiveness of healthcare in prisons is to be investigated by MSPs on the Health and Sport Committee.

The Committee will undertake a short inquiry into the issue which will look at how healthcare is delivered in prisons and the cost of the service. In addition it will consider current and future pressures on the delivery of prison healthcare.

MSPs have also issued a call for evidence on this issue.

Convener of the Health and Sport Committee, Neil Findlay MSP said:

“The whole purpose of transferring prison healthcare from the prison service to the NHS was to reduce health inequalities, encourage better access to treatment and improve the continuity of care. Five years on, this Committee feels it is an appropriate time to investigate how successful this has been.

“Prisons offer a unique opportunity to reduce health inequalities by engaging with people who are not on the radar of the healthcare system due to their often chaotic lifestyles. As with care in the wider population there is also an ageing prison population which will require care for multiple long term conditions.”  

In 2011 responsibility for the provision of healthcare in prisons transferred from the prison service to the NHS. It is now the responsibility of the local Integration Authority. The Committee will also be writing to each Integration Authority to establish facts around budgets and costs of the service, staffing and facilities, demand, performance and service development. 

The Committee is also seeking the views of people into the following issues:

  • What do you consider are the current pressures on health and social care provision in prisons?
  • How well do you consider that these pressures have been responded too?
  • To what extent do you believe that health inequalities are / could be addressed in the prison healthcare system?
  • What are the current barriers to using the prison healthcare system to improve the health outcomes of the prison population?
  • Can you identify potential improvements to current services?
  • What do you think the main pressures will be in the next 15 years?


The call for views is open until 28 February 2017.


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