New national committee to support prison healthcare

Press Release – Department Of Corrections

The Department of Corrections has enlisted clinical and cultural experts to support clinical leadership of the healthcare services provided in prisons.

News Release
For Immediate Release 7 December 2011

New national committee to support prison healthcare

The Department of Corrections has enlisted clinical and cultural experts to support clinical leadership of the healthcare services provided in prisons.

While every prison has its own clinical committee made up of Corrections health staff, Medical Officers and custodial staff, health professionals have today met for the first time to look at driving improvements in health outcomes nationally.

Corrections’ Clinical Director Debbie Gell says as well as key Corrections staff, the committee is made up of experts from the community health sector including Medical Officers, nursing and quality assurance professionals, and an advisor to support services to Maori.

“Prisons are a unique working environment, with unique challenges. Staff work with people who present with significant and often complex health needs. We are excited to be looking at how we can continue to align prison healthcare with that of the community.”

The committee will meet face-to-face four times a year and will have monthly teleconferences. The members will look at things like the effectiveness of prison healthcare services, staff training and development, clinical safety and information and knowledge management.

“As a committee we will look at ways staff can be supported and how we can improve policies and procedures to ensure the Department is providing prisoners with the same care offered to those in the community.

It’s all about creating a collaborative approach to providing the best level of care for a high-needs population, to ultimately reduce re-offending and, with the support of the wider health sector, improve the health of all New Zealanders.”

ENDS

Note to reporters:

Corrections is funded to provide a primary health service to prisoners and is required to provide a service that is reasonably equivalent to that accessed by the general community. This is delivered via health centres situated at each prison site. Services are largely delivered by nurses with additional services contracted, including GPs, Dentists etc.

Corrections employs around 200 FTE Registered Nurses nationally. Nurses who work in prisons have a wide range of clinical skills and experience. On any given day they may be involved in assessing newly arrived prisoners – many of whom have not readily accessed health services in the community, dealing with medical emergencies or accidents, monitoring and treating ongoing health conditions, conducting health screens, supporting effective medication management, undertaking vaccination programmes and providing health education

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