Inpatient care of mentally ill people in prison: results of a year's programme of semistructured inspections.

Abstract:

OBJECTIVE:To investigate the facilities for inpatient care of mentally disordered people in prison. DESIGN:Semistructured inspections conducted by doctor and nurse. Expected standards were based on healthcare quality standards published by the Prison Service or the NHS. SETTING:13 prisons with inpatient beds in England and Wales subject to the prison inspectorate's routine inspection programme during 1997-8. MAIN OUTCOMES MEASURES:Appraisals of quality of care against published standards. RESULTS:The 13 prisons had 348 beds, 20% of all beds in prisons. Inpatient units had between 3 and 75 beds. No doctor in charge of inpatients had completed specialist psychiatric training. 24% of nursing staff had mental health training; 32% were non-nursing trained healthcare officers. Only one prison had occupational therapy input; two had input from a clinical psychologist. Most patients were unlocked for about 3.5 hours a day and none for more than nine hours a day. Four prisons provided statistics on the use of seclusion. The average length of an episode of seclusion was 50 hours. CONCLUSION:The quality of services for mentally ill prisoners fell far below the standards in the NHS. Patients' lives were unacceptably restricted and therapy limited. The present policy dividing inpatient care of mentally disordered prisoners between the prison service and the NHS needs reconsideration.

journal_name

BMJ

authors

Reed JL,Lyne M

doi

10.1136/bmj.320.7241.1031

keywords:

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2000-04-15 00:00:00

pages

1031-4

issue

7241

eissn

0959-8138

issn

1756-1833

journal_volume

320

pub_type

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