Mental health in prisons

The report of the National Audit Office into healthcare services in prison.

The National Audit Office looks at public spending for Parliament to make sure that government departments are spending effectively. They make recommendations to improve services and to make savings.

They published a report which looks at healthcare for mental health problems in prison and ways to look after prisoners’ well-being and to make sure that care is continued when transferred from prison to hospital and into the community.

The report said that the government doesn’t collect enough or good enough information about mental health in prisons so it is difficult to plan services and to find out what is happening.

In most prisons, NHS England pays one company to provide all of the healthcare services. They don’t know how much mental health services cost or how much they spend. It also means that they might not be getting value for money or that the organisation doesn’t adapt services depending on what the prisoners need.

Because funding is being cut there are less staff which means prisoners spend more time in their cells. This can have a negative impact on their mental health and it makes it more difficult to see healthcare staff. There is a programme of change but it is not clear how they will meet these targets.

The report makes some recommendations which includes improving information so that the government departments know more about the mental health needs of prisoners. Objectives should be changed so they relate to providing mental health services and make sure that they are value for money and that the organisations provide the services needed.

They need to reduce the number of people taking their own life and self-harming in prison. They should also look at the process to transfer a prisoner to hospital as sometimes it takes much longer than the recommended 14 days.

The report can be found here.

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