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Damning report over prisoners' care at HMP Oakwood

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Inspectors have delivered a damning report on the healthcare provided to inmates at a South Staffordshire jail.

Prisoners were able to trade medicines and had to wait three months for routine dental treatment, while one wheelchair-bound prisoner's leg splint was broken, Care Quality Commission inspectors found.

Bosses at the trust which provides the majority of healthcare at HMP Oakwood in Featherstone accepted that prisoners were put at high risk from poor medication procedures.

Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust was failed on five of the six standards that the CQC judged it on. When one inmate was being handed medication he was told 'you'll get what you're given' by a staff member, the report said.

It also found there was inadequate information about healthcare and that people weren't getting appointments within 24 hours, while waiting times to see a GP or dentist were longer than those regularly seen for the wider public.

A person with a walking aid and visual and hearing impairments was classed as having no disabilities and he regularly missed taking medicines as he couldn't reach the medication room.

Meanwhile, prisoners had 'opportunities for diversion of medicines known to be tradable', the report said, as booths in which the medicines were administered to inmates also blocked officers' views.

The report said: "Waiting times for some healthcare services were unacceptably long, including those for mental health and dental professionals.

"The needs of people with physical disabilities were not identified or always met. Medicines were not managed safely, or in accordance with appropriate policies and procedures.

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"People often experienced delays in obtaining their medicines. Medicine stocks were not well managed, leading to duplication and wastage."

Sarah Dugan, chief executive of Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said: "We accept that the risk to prisoners was high and have given our full attention to ensuring the systems we have at HMP Oakwood significantly reduces the risks of harm coming to prisoners.

"There were some concerns raised which were clearly outside of our remit and control but we are and will work with our partner organisations who also provide services at HMP Oakwood to ensure that those wider issues are addressed.

"We have a track record of providing excellent levels of care across all of our settings."

It comes after it emerged that builders were still being called back to the jail to fix deficiencies, while inmates did not have toilet paper for the first few days after it opened. The prison's first annual report also revealed safety issues.

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