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RCN warns failure to invest in prison healthcare staff will jeopardise safety

RCN welcomes Select committee report showing prisoners’ access to healthcare limited by staff shortages and calls for better investment in staff

Press Release 01/11/2018

RCN responds to Health and Social Care Committee report on prison health that makes clear the Government is failing its duty of care towards prisoners

Responding to the Health and Social Care Committee report on prison health that makes clear the Government is failing its duty of care towards prisoners, RCN professional lead for criminal justice and learning disabilities Ann Norman said:

“This is a welcome report at a time with prisons in a shocking state unfit for the 21st century. Nursing staff are on the frontline of delivering healthcare to those in prison and have been highlighting the challenges that prevent them from delivering the care they want to give to patients. 

“In a survey last year, almost two thirds of our members who work in prisons said the care they provide was compromised on their last shift and the quality of care was exceptionally poor1. We agree that workforce is a critical priority for improving prison healthcare and nursing staff desperately need better investment, in terms of money and experience, if this report’s recommendations are to be implemented. 

“A proper investment in the prison health workforce will bring improvements across the board, but a failure to act now will see services deteriorate to a point beyond the already-shameful state they’re in. As we've seen in the Government's commitment to tackling violence against NHS workers, staff shortages put nursing staff at risk of assault. 

“Employers must work with the RCN to improve the morale and working conditions of prison nursing staff, uniquely placed to turn around the health outcomes and life prospects of a prison population many of whom come from our most deprived and disadvantaged communities.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1-The RCN passed a resolution at Congress 2018 calling on the Council to work with employers to improve the morale and working conditions of prison nursing staff across the UK. In the RCN’s 2017 Safe Staffing Survey, 64% of respondents who work in prisons said that care was compromised on their last shift. Of all respondents to the survey, those working in prisons rated the quality of care most poorly.

The Health and Social Care Committee report can be viewed online.

Press Office Contacts

Gareth Arnold, Senior Media Officer:
020 7647 3770

Katherine Jarman, Head of Media:
020 7647 3484

Hannah Law, Media Officer:
020 7647 3696 

Daniel Sutherland, Senior Media Officer:
020 7647 3695