Care UK re-appointed to help prisoners at HMP Chelmsford manage their own wellbeing

June 17th 2015

NHS England has again chosen independent sector health and social care provider Care UK to run offender healthcare at HMP Chelmsford under a five year contract.

Care UK was first appointed to run healthcare services for up to 745 prisoners at the category B prison in May 2012. The new contract will see the partnership with NHS England run for another five years with the option to extend by a further two years.

The Care UK team comprises of around 50 nurses, pharmacists, managers and administrators, with mental health, ophthalmology, dentistry and peer support services being subcontracted. Care UK will also be working with Premier Physical Healthcare to bring new physiotherapy and podiatry services to the prison.

Other partners include Community Dental Services, Pen Optical Trust (a charitable organisation that offers training and ultimately employment for ex-offenders, who will be providing optometry services) and Atrium, who will provide counselling services. Care UK will be responsible for primary mental health supporting prisoners with long-term, clinical issues.

The team will also work to educate prisoners about their chronic health problems, such as asthma and diabetes, to manage their conditions, and will also build elements of health education into some prisoners’ care plans in order to improve health generally.

Steve Mason, Care UK’s regional manager, said: “We believe NHS England’s decision to reappoint Care UK is a mark of their confidence in the service we have provided for the prison during the past three years.

“We have a commitment to providing a quality service, driven by the recovery model which sees us using highly-tailored healthcare to improve prisoners’ health and wellbeing. I believe our services will enable prisoners to lead healthier lives and will not only contribute to successful rehabilitation but will also provide value for money for NHS England.”

Last year’s inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Prisons found that a wide range of clinics were provided along with appropriate screening services. Waiting times to see the GP and for all clinics were short, and outside hospital appointments were well managed. The inspectors also found that prisoners were positive about the care provided on the inpatient unit, which provided a relaxed and therapeutic environment. The government watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, has also found the Care UK service to be fully compliant with its stringent guidelines.

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