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Prisoners without permanent GP service

PUBLISHED: 07:36 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:27 03 July 2010

Norwich prison: Prisoners have been left without no permanent GP service after no surgery wanted to run the service.

Norwich prison: Prisoners have been left without no permanent GP service after no surgery wanted to run the service.

PRISONERS in Norwich have been left without a permanent GP after no surgery wanted to run the service.

Health bosses have warned that prisoners are getting a second-class health service as a result.

PRISONERS in Norwich have been left without a permanent GP after no surgery wanted to run the service.

Health bosses have warned that prisoners are getting a second-class health service as a result. A report to yesterday's NHS Norfolk board meeting that if a solution is not found “there will be a continued poor primary care service into the prison”. It said the risks are “lack of continuity of care, lack of clinical leadership and poor medicines management”.

The health service in Norwich prison and young offender's institution is reliant on a locum service. Until two years ago the responsibility for healthcare in prisons was with the Prison Service, who employed a medical officer at each prison, but now it is down to the NHS. NHS Norfolk has invited GP practices to tender, but did not get any suitable bids. The contract for Wayland Prison near Watton was won by Theatre Street Surgery in Dereham, which already runs the service there.

Prison GP services include work with drug abuse. Norwich prison has an elderly lifers wing and has some seriously ill prisoners, including train robber Ronnie Biggs. Serial killer Donald Neilson, who is in the late stages of motor neurone disease, is due to be moved there.

NHS Norfolk is planning to put a new contract out to tender to cover a wider range of prison health services, but it will not come into force for a year. After yesterday's meeting, director of public health John Battersby said: “The tender will take place over the next few months. We would aim to have the new provider in place by next April.”

He said “The potential missing bit is if you are running with locums you have got different people providing the service and you sometimes get less continuity.”

He said they would use computerised records to make sure that the locum doctors had access to full medical information about their patients.

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