Since April 2006, commissioning responsibility for prison health services has been fully devolved to the national health service.
Primary care trusts work with prisons to assess the health care needs of their population, whatever their age, and develop services to meet those needs. Local partnership boards ensure that these are of an equivalent quality and range to that which the general public receives from the NHS.
Services for older prisoners should be made on the basis of the NHS National Service Framework for Older People—issued to all prisons under cover of a Prison Service Instruction in 2001. This requires staff to deliver comprehensive and well co-ordinated packages of care that meet the needs of older prisoners and ensure continuity of care for them on release.
An older prisoners action group has recently been established as part of the Care Services Improvement Partnerships health and social care in criminal justice programme. This will work to address the specific health and social care service inequalities for older offenders, including establishing national access protocols to services based on a common assessment of need.