Intended for healthcare professionals


Prisoners: an end to second class health care?

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 10 April 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:954

Eventually the NHS must take over

  1. Richard Smith, Editor
  1. BMJ

    Prisoners in England and Wales receive inferior health care.13Soon they should have the same health care as everybody else. At the moment their health care is the responsibility of the Home Office, the government department that oversees the criminal justice system. Soon it should be the responsibility of the National Health Service. Last week a joint report from the NHS and the prison service recommended a “formal partnership” between the two services to improve the health and health care of prisoners.2* The report stopped short of adopting the recent recommendation of the chief inspector of prisons that the NHS should take over prison health care completely.3 But many of those who have watched the excruciatingly long and slow minuet between the prison service and the NHS will think that the final step of the NHS taking full responsibility must and should come soon.

    The joint report summarises the familiar problems well. “Health care in prisons is characterised by considerable variation in organisation, and …

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