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Health Services: Prisons

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to assess the impact of primary care trusts assuming responsibility for the provision of health care services to prisons; and if he will make a statement. (159434)

In 2006, the Health Services Management Centre at Birmingham University was commissioned to undertake a survey of prison health partnerships in order to inform both an assessment of their progress and the process of transferring commissioning responsibility for prison health care services in public sector prisons to the national health service. A copy has been placed in the Library.

This year, the Department will introduce a set of newly designed performance indicators to assess the quality of prison health care services. These bring together a number of existing systems to support a mainstream approach to performance monitoring at a local level.

It is planned that the indicators will contribute to measuring the effectiveness of the transfer and corresponding significant increased investment in prison health. They will also act as a tool to strengthen local commissioning, governance and performance management arrangements and inform national strategy and policy development.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) and the Healthcare Commission have worked in partnership by virtue of a memorandum of understanding since April 2006 to monitor health care standards in prisons. The Healthcare Commission now includes prison health services in its assessment of the effectiveness of commissioning arrangements in the national health service, while HMIP continues to inspect and report on health outcomes for prisoners in all public sector establishments.