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Prison Doctors

Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

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Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prison doctors are suspended from duties. [109556]

Decisions concerning suspension of doctors employed by the prison service are made locally by prison governors in accordance with prison service conduct and discipline procedures. Information on the number of prison doctors suspended from duties is not held centrally.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many prison doctors have been dismissed in the last five years. [109557]

Two doctors have been dismissed from the prison service in the last five years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 3 March 2003, Official Report, column 890, on prison doctors, how many of those doctors not qualified to general practitioner level are working without appropriate supervision; what form supervision takes; and what guidance has been issued to prisons on the supervision of under-qualified doctors. [1095581

There are 25 doctors who do not hold vocational training qualifications in the Prison Service, five of whom are in full-time training. Of the remaining 20, 10 are providing mental health services and 10 are working in primary care. One doctor has left the service since the answer provided on 3 March 2003.The form of supervision provided varies dependent on the individual's needs assessed in a number of ways including interviews with post-graduate deans and interviews with the medical director in prison health.

Guidance on supervision has been issued to prisons in a number of forms, including the booklet 'Unlocking the Jargon' and direct communications from the medical director. Doctors have also been on mentorship training, have been provided with personal learning plans and will shortly be subject to appraisal equivalent to that introduced in the national health service for general practitioner principals. Further guidance on models of supervision is planned to be issued shortly.