Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Analysis Healthcare in Prisons

Prison environment and health

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 17 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5921

Rapid Response:

Re: Prison environment and health

Thank you Stephen Ginn for bringing to international attention the challenges, and frequent inequalities, that pertain to the provision of healthcare to incarcerated persons. Such individuals account for a significant proportion of the world population and, as such, significant attention should be afforded to ensuring that adequate healthcare is available in prisons. The history of the provision of medical services in prisons in the UK, initially by the Home Office Prison Medical Service and later by the NHS, has relevance to many other countries where prison healthcare continues to be the responsibility of the prison services themselves.

As outlined by Ginn, when this situation existed in the UK, many clinicians were under qualified and lacking in appropriate training. This situation is replicated today in many other countries. Whilst many difficulties certainly remain in healthcare delivery in prisons in the UK, the NHS has demonstrated that outcomes are improved when such healthcare is managed independently of a prison service. The remainder of this series from Ginn is eagerly awaited.

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 September 2012
Dr Kieran M Kennedy
Lecturer in Medical Education
National University of Ireland Galway
Cummerford Medical Education Centre, Clinical Science Institute, National University of Ireland Galway