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Volume 450: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the processes for the appointment of medical practitioners within the prison service; what guidance is provided concerning the appointment and use of locums; what assessment she has made of the use of locums in the provision of prison healthcare services; and what funding is available to provide temporary cover for medical services in prisons. (96611)

Primary care trusts (PCTs) commission health and medical services for prisons to standards and equivalent in quality and range to that available in the wider national health service (NHS). Mainstream NHS processes therefore apply to the recruitment of medical staff and locum staff in prisons.

Funding for temporary cover must come from the allocations PCTs receive to commission prison health services. The use of locum staff is therefore a matter for PCTs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the provision of pharmacy services in prisons. (96610)

The Government are committed to providing a health service to prisoners that is equivalent in quality and range to that in the wider community. Primary care trusts (PCTs) which host prisons became responsible for commissioning services, including pharmacy, to meet the healthcare needs of prisoners in April 2006.

In June 2003, “A Pharmacy Service for Prisoners”, published by HM Prison Service and the Department, made a number of recommendations for the development of more patient-focused, primary care-based pharmacy services based on identified need, which support and promote self-care. Regional pharmacy leads were appointed to oversee baseline assessments and action plans for modernising pharmacy services in each establishment and considerable progress to meeting the recommendations of this report has already been made.