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Prison Medical Services

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 22 November 2011

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Ceisteanna (424, 425)

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

452 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the doctor to prisoner ratio within each prison in the State; his plans to increase the attendance time of general practitioners in prisons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35694/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Justice and Equality)

Primary care is the model of care through which healthcare is delivered in the prison system. The service is currently delivered by a mix of part-time and full time doctors, who attend the various prisons for varying periods of time commensurate with the numbers and needs of the prison population. The service is provided using a multi-disciplinary model and intra-disciplinary working processes. This service is supported by Nursing staff in all prisons.

The table illustrates the current level of service provided by doctors in all prisons from Monday to Friday inclusive. Doctors also are available on call outside of surgery hours. There is also provision for locum doctors attendance at prisons at weekends.

Prison

Doctor Numbers

Doctor Hours(Monday-Friday)

Average Daily Population 2010

Arbour Hill

0.3 WTE

12hrs

153

Castlerea

0.4 WTE

15hrs

378

Cloverhill

1.5 WTE

59hrs

465

Cork

0.4 WTE

15hrs

303

Dóchas

0.6 WTE

22.5hrs

131

Limerick

0.4 WTE

15hrs

333

Loughan House

0.25 WTE

10hrs

134

Midlands

2.0 WTE

78hrs

542

Mountjoy

1.4 WTE

55hrs

667

Portlaoise

1.0 WTE

39hrs

263

Shelton Abbey

0.25 WTE

10hrs

99

St. Patrick’s Institution

0.4 WTE

15hrs

214

Training Unit

0.3 WTE

11.5rs

113

Wheatfield

1.5 WTE

59hrs

495

WTE* whole time equivalents

The Irish Prison Service Healthcare Directorate continually monitor the level of service provided by Prison Doctors.

Jonathan O'Brien

Ceist:

453 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will report on the medical service in the Irish Prison Service. [35695/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The Irish Prison Service seeks to ensure that prisoners receive the same standard of healthcare as members of the public who hold a medical card. Prisoners receive care through the primary care system (involving doctors, nurses and other in-reach healthcare professionals) delivered in each prison. Where a doctor or other healthcare professional operating in a prison determines that a prisoner requires treatment in an external setting (emergency department, out patients department, surgical procedure etc), following a comprehensive clinical assessment, a referral is made to the public health system. Where prisoners attend for hospital appointments, decisions regarding their clinical care are determined on the same basis as persons in the community accessing public health services.

Research and practice has identified three main care domains in the prison context:

Primary Care

Primary care is the model of care through which healthcare is delivered. The primary care service is provided using a multi-disciplinary model and intra-disciplinary working processes and strives to provide proactive healthcare with a focus on health awareness and preventative medicine. Each prison has a complement of Nurses, Medical Orderlies and attendance by a prison doctor commensurate with the healthcare needs and prison population of the institution.

Addiction

Given the large number of prisoners requiring drug treatment services, the Irish Prison Service endeavours to provide a comprehensive range of such services in closed prisons. Drug rehabilitation programmes for prisoners involve a significant multidimensional input by a diverse range of general and specialist services provided both by the Irish Prison Service and visiting statutory and non-statutory organisations.

Mental Health

The prevalence of severe mental illness is significantly worse among prisoners compared to the general population. The Central Mental Hospital, National Forensic Mental Health Service provides consultant led in-reach sessions weekly by arrangement at all Dublin prisons and also at Portlaoise and the Midlands Prisons. Specialist in-reach services are in place for consultant led mental health sessions in the remaining closed prisons.

In addition, professional in-reach healthcare services are provided as required in relation to, inter alia, pharmacy, dental services, chiropody, physiotherapy and optical.

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