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NHS takeover of prison health service proposed

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7065.1099 (Published 02 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1099

An urgent need exists for the NHS to take over the provision of medical services in prisons in England and Wales, according to a report published last week by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons.

Sir David Ramsbotham's report Patient or Prisoner? says that the health care provided by the prison medical service does not match that provided by the NHS. “Specific groups are particularly disadvantaged such as the mentally ill,” he said. “Prison can exacerbate mental health problems, with a long term impact on the individual concerned and the community into which he or she is released.” The report calls for proper psychiatric services for mentally ill people in prison, which would require new units for day care centres and the ability to provide nursing services 24 hours a day.

Sir David, a former chairman of an NHS hospital, prepared the …

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