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Prison Fence

Health care in prisons

in Scotland

Five years on from the transfer of the nurse-led prison healthcare service from the Scottish Prison Service to NHS Scotland, RCN Scotland evaluated how far the aspirations behind the move are being evidenced in practice. Our report, Five Years On, published in November 2016, highlighted some important areas of improvement and innovation in health care for the prison population and shows the commitment of nursing staff working with people in prison. However, overall there is too little evidence that the transfer has put health care in prison, definitively, on the right path to delivering better outcomes for people in prison across Scotland.

Following the publication of our report, the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee undertook an enquiry into health care in prisons, which was published in May 2017. The committee’s report echoed many of our own findings. The Scottish Government established a Health and Justice Collaboration Improvement Board in September 2017. One of the Board’s three priority areas will be prison healthcare. 

RCN Scotland wants to see the health, and the health care, of people in prison at the forefront of open political debate. During 2017, RCN Scotland hosted two roundtable discussions with individuals and organisations with an interest in prison healthcare. In early 2018, we were invited to contribute to the work of the Health and Social Care in Prisons Programme Board led by the Scottish Government. We will continue to act to raise our concerns with those in a position of influence.

If you would like to hear more or get involved, please contact 
RCN Scotland thanks the people in prison, staff and partners who spoke to us so openly and supported our work in writing our Five Years On report.

Five Years On

Five years on  

Royal College of Nursing Scotland review of the transfer of prison health care from the Scottish Prison Service to NHS Scotland

Read more

Reactions to our report from other organisations

  • Prof Nancy Loucks OBE, Chief Executive of Families Outside
    Families Outside is a national Scottish charity that works solely on behalf of children and families affected by imprisonment...READ MORE
  • Alan Staff, Chief Executive of Apex Scotland
    Apex Scotland has been working with people in the criminal justice system in Scotland for almost thirty years...READ MORE
  • Dr J Kay Richmond, Chairman of UK Programme Action Committee, Soroptimist International
    Soroptimists in Scotland are involved with the Scottish Government to change the way in which women involved with the Criminal Justice System (CJS) are treated...READ MORE
  • Sheila Cron, former Head of Nursing for Health Improvement and Inequalities with Perth & Kinross Community Health Partnership. 
    I am disappointed but not surprised about the lack of progress with this agenda...READ MORE

Page last updated - 05/03/2019