New prison health centre leads way for better care

A new healthcare centre at Haverigg Prison in Millom has officially opened its doors, marking a new wave of improved healthcare and efficiencies at the facility which is run in partnership, including Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT).

Haverigg Prison holds up to 644 male prisoners, where CPFT are commissioned to provide the primary healthcare nursing service, offering a wide range of primary healthcare service equivalent to that in the community.

The refurbishment has seen an existing building being re-vamped to provide fit-for-purpose care alongside the current facility, which will also remain open. Improvements include -

  • An increase in rooms and space to accommodate for more clinics as well as 1-2-1 and group sessions for patients
  • A larger waiting room, ensuring there will be no overcrowding
  • A new central office space, allowing collaborative working across all agencies based at the prison.

The opening included a tour of the building with Mike Taylor, Chair of CPFT and Julie Duhny, Head of Commissioning Offender NHS England, and nursing staff.

The healthcare facility at the Prison has made other excellent improvements and efficiencies alongside the opening of the new facility, including –

  • The recruitment of an Advanced Nurse Practitioner Trainee from September 2015, which will see on-site specialist support for treating and prescribing for Hepatitis C (a recurring issue in the Prison).
  • Reduced escorts outside the prison – CPFT found a high level of patients required treatment with machinery such as ultrasound, x-rays and MRI scanners. This presented a problem as it usually requires a prisoner to be escorted to a facility outside of the prison, and with only two escorts a day permitted, this leaves a long waiting list. To rectify the problem, machines to be brought in to the prison every quarter for one day – the last two MRI scanner visits saw 30 patients treated.

The use of telemedicine, which uses technology to put patients in touch with healthcare professionals (similar to Skype), is also being planned for patients to help break down distance barriers.

Debbie Nelson, Head of Healthcare for Haverigg Prison, said: “We’re committed to treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm. The improvements at the prison will allow us to be much more efficient, not only in the way we treat patients, but the way we work with our partners.”

L-R Julie Duhny from NHS England and Debbie Nelson, Head of Healthcare at Haverigg Prison