Developments around Wandsworth Prison Health and Care since we visited

We caught up with the Head of Offender Healthcare to hear about what has changed since we visited. Find out more about how things have changed or improved.
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What we did

Last year Healthwatch Wandsworth spoke to people at Wandsworth Prison about their healthcare and we also heard from family members.

We have been following developments since our visit and have a recent update on how things are going.

Key Changes

  • Written materials have been updated and healthcare teams have worked with social care to include information about this. Specific information for relatives and friends have not been looked at, but is expected to be looked at in due course.

  • Referrals to social care now have a new process which is working well and they are looking at how to further promote self-referral to social care.

  • People can now refer themselves to mental health support via a computer kiosk on the wings. There has been a big increase in the number of people who have been referred, although this has influenced waiting times.

  • During prison inductions there is now quite a focus on how to access various services and the prison service have been trying to make sure more people have the induction.

  • There is now a new person employed by the prison service to manage Prisoner Healthcare Representatives and the vacant Healthcare Representative positions are currently all filled. The new member of staff will be involved in recruiting and training the Representatives.

  • Prisoners provide feedback and experiences of healthcare at a prison council meeting every month through a representative from each wing.

  • Attendance rates for primary and secondary screening remain improved at between 70% and 80%. A more challenging area is for ‘allied health services’ such as podiatry, dentist, opticians, mental health, sexual health and GP clinics. The health care team are looking at a few ways to try to improve this, such as using a reserve list for appointments.

  • There will be a new nurse for older persons which will address some of the age-related health needs outlined in our report.

  • The high number of delays in response to complaints has reduced a lot since our visit. The computer kiosks on the wings reduced the many issues that the paper-based system created. The health care team have also changed their process to try and meet patients to discuss issues and try to resolve them within a number of days rather than all issues becoming part of the lengthier complaints processes.

Future Plans

Our Healthwatch Wandsworth report recommendations have been taken to the safety and experience board and will now form part of a clinical action plan and we hope to receive updates about this.

We hope to continue to stay in touch with developments at the prison.  Responsibility for health has transferred to Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust as the contract with St Georges Hospital has now come to an end.

One key development is that everybody who has three or more problems will have a co-ordinator for their care to number of appointments and will also bring improvements in the way services provided in the prison work together. The hope is that this will improve care for people with learning difficulties or Dementia for example.

See our original report and the response 

Read the report

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