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Health Services: Prisoners

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 8 April 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for Isle of Wight on 4 November 2009. what steps have been taken to ensure that local health authorities are reimbursed for the additional costs of guarding prisoners who require health care outside prison. (325894)

There have been no recent changes to the funding responsibilities of national health service primary care trusts (PCTs) for their prison health care escorts and bedwatches activity.

Responsibility for commissioning health services in publicly run prisons in England has been fully devolved to NHS PCTs since 2006, with significantly increased funding. Subsequently, the responsibility and funding for escorts and bedwatch costs transferred from HM Prison Service to PCTs in April 2008.

This decision followed the outcome of a 12-month audit of prison health care escorts and bedwatches activity in all prisons in England and Wales, and a pilot in 10 prisons of options for future funding and management of escorts and bedwatches.

Escorts and bedwatches costs are determined by a fixed tariff previously agreed by HM Prison Service and the NHS. Baseline funding is provided for within the NHS bundle, which is the Department’s mechanism for the distribution of core funding to strategic health authorities.