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Health Services: Youth Custody

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many and what proportion of young people were not given an initial physical and mental health assessment within five days of entering custody in 2009. (310790)

The information requested is not collected centrally. Since 2006, national health service primary care trusts have been responsible for commissioning health services for their offender health population.

Prison Service Order 0500 and subsequent Prison Service Instruction 27/2006 states that:

First receptions into custody will have undergone an initial health assessment to determine any immediate health needs before they were locked up for their first night.

The initial evidence based health assessment of first receptions will include a triage that must take place before the prisoner's first night, to primarily detect:

immediate physical health problems

immediate mental health problems

significant drugs or alcohol abuse

risk of suicide and/or self-harm.

As a follow up to this, they must also be given a general health assessment in the week immediately following reception, by an appropriately trained member of the health care team, in order to identify any existing health problems and to plan any subsequent care/treatment.

All services provided in Her Majesty's prisons are inspected by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons. Their inspection document ‘Expectations—Criteria for Assessing the Conditions in Prisons and the Treatment of Prisoners' records the standards for first and second reception health screening. These standards are covered under Primary Care—section 4 points 27 and 28.