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Prison Healthcare Under Strain as Overcrowding Crisis Worsens, Warns BMA

is has not been forthcoming so far, the BMA strongly advises all concerned prison doctors to write formally to their respective prison governors and prison health provider (PCT or Private Sector Company) in order to highlight that the current situation in their prison is resulting in an increased and serious risk to their patients health. The BMA will continue to push hard for extra measures to combat the impact of the overcrowding crisis.

Prison doctors specific concerns about the impact of overcrowding also include:

Prison Healthcare Services

Increasing delays in transferring prisoners to hospital facilities because there are not enough prison officers to act as escorts. There has been no communication from the Government to prison doctors about the overcrowding crisis. This has lead to a widespread feeling of professional isolation and further damaged morale amongst the profession. Increasing pressure on in-patient beds for the mentally ill. In some areas prisoners with severe psychiatric conditions have to wait weeks before being transferred to appropriate care units.

Emergency Measures

The introduction of emergency measures that involve keeping prisoners in police cells is inappropriate and potentially harmful to the prisoner, as these facilities often do not have the on-site staff or equipment to perform even basic health assessments.

The BMA remains strongly opposed to the introduction of prison accommodation that does not have access to professional, round the clock medical facilities. The current use of police cells is unacceptable and must be reversed as soon as possible.


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