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Chronically Ill Prisoners Face Great Healthcare Problems

es, not on the advice of healthcare specialists, including hospital consultants, and that meant being denied certain types of medication.

Long waits to see doctors, often following written applications, were also highlighted.

However, there was some positive feedback from the survey, which covered prisoners aged from 16 to 78 and included male and female prisons and young offenders’ institutions.

One prisoner said that prison had saved his life, as his drug habit had made it difficult to access mental health services outside prison.

While he was on remand he’d seen a psychiatric nurse and psychiatrist and being in prison had enabled him to access diagnosis and treatment for the first time. Many other prisoners welcomed the opportunity to access mental health services.

There were also examples of people suffering from obesity and hypertension who said that being in prison had improved their health, because they had better access to information and services.

And one prisoner, who had better things to do than worry about his health on the outside, said that being in prison was his chance to 'get healthy, get back to normal'.

These comments echo the findings of a 2002 survey by the UK Social Exclusion Unit, which estimated that only half of prisoners are registered with family doctors but make more than average use of health services while they are in prison.

The research team points out that health problems such as smoking, past use of illegal drugs and hazardous drinking are high among UK prisoners and they face an increased risk of hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and communicable diseases.

'Prisoners are also more likely to have mental health problems than the rest of the population and previous research has shown that being in prison tends to make mental health problems worse' says Dr Powell.

The team state that prisoners need to b
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