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Prison Health Services

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what health services are available in prisons; how much has been allocated to the prison health service since 1997; and what action is taken when a prisoner faces serious health difficulties. [115156]

From 1 April 2003, the Department of Health assumed budgetary responsibility for prison health care in England, other than at contractually managed establishments. There has not, historically, been a separate budget for health care within overall prison service expenditure but the total Home Office baseline costs for 2002–03 were identified as £117.7 million. This baseline was transferred to the Department of Health, which will, over the next three years, make further resources, rising to around an extra £46 million a year by 2005–06, available to improve prison health services.Prisons which receive prisoners directly from court undertake a full health assessment on a prisoner's first reception into prison custody. There is, at the minimum, a primary health care service at every establishment. Most will also have some of a range of other services, such as in-patient facilities in a health care centre and dental, optical, mental health, substance misuse, genitourinary and communicable disease services. Prisoners with physical or mental health problems which cannot be satisfactorily treated within the prison setting are admitted to hospital.