Healthcare in Secure Environments

The RCGP Secure Environments Group (SEG) recognises the need to improve the consistency of safe clinical practice in secure settings and with the support of NHS England, have initiated this Healthcare in Secure Environments clinical spotlight project. The project will take the form of a series of championed and carefully communicated guidelines focussing on key areas of clinical practice to enhance safety, security and reduction in avoidable death and illness in the prison population. By improving and better addressing the mental health, physical health and substance misuse needs of this patient group we will be benefiting the health and wellbeing of people in contact with the criminal justice system both inside prison and on release.

Aims of the project

The aim of our project is to provide educational resources that will not only facilitate a ‘whole prison approach’ to improving the health and well-being of people in contact with the criminal justice system, but will also assist those working in primary care in the community who have patients going in and out of custodial settings.  

Alongside ‘Top Tips’ and ‘lunch-sized learning’ for clinicians working in secure environments, we plan to provide information co-created with and tailored to meet the needs of non-clinical staff, patients, their families and carers and third sector organisations as well as community primary care teams. We aim draw on expertise from different disciplines to provide information that can be used by teams and individuals as a stimulus for learning that will impact on patient care. We will also provide links to important published national guidance, to cutting edge commentary from the RCGP SEG Health and Justice Summits and to other organisations, who work closely with those in contact with the criminal justice system, for example, The Howard League, Prison Reform Trust.

Key outputs

Healthcare in Secure Environments online toolkit (in development)

QI and case studies

A whole prison approach to health and well-being; developing education resources with prison residents for prison residents - Dr Caroline IJ Watson, RCGP Clinical Champion for Healthcare in Secure Environments, Lead GP HMP Bedford; Hayley Smith, PeoplePlus, Education HMP Bedford

Forthcoming work

As the Spotlight project progresses, we envisage creating a dynamic interactive learning community to share experience and expertise as well as launching online and one-day courses to meet the needs of those starting out in Secure Environments healthcare. We are very grateful to RCGP CIRC and other stakeholders for this exciting opportunity to improve the health and well-being of those in secure settings and thereby seek to narrow the gap in health inequalities experienced by this diverse population.

Clinical Team

Dr Caroline Watson - RCGP Clinical Champion for Healthcare in Secure Environments

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