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Prisoners health needs often 'unmet'

Prisoners should be able to access health and social care more easily, a study has claimed. 

Researchers discovered that 44% of prisons do not have a policy on the care and management of older male prisoners. 

There is also a lack of integration between health and social care services, researchers point out. 

In many cases this has led to health and social care needs not being met once the prisoners were back in the community. 

Professor Jenny Shaw, from the Offender Health Research Network at the University of Manchester said specialist assessments are required for older patients because they have more complex health and social care needs. 

Earlier studies have shown around 85% of older prisoners have one or more major illnesses, including cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, back problems, respiratory diseases and depression. 

Professor Shaw's study uncovered that the Department of Health's recommendation to provide older prisoners with a health and social care assessment on arrival at prison was largely unmet. 

She said: “Older prisoners have on average three unmet health and social care needs on entry to prison and the most frequent unmet need was in relation to knowing where to get information about their care.” 

The study is available to download in full from the National Institute for Health Research Journals Library.