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Prison ambulance call-outs increase

By Alex Ross | News | Published:

Ambulance call-outs to prisoners have soared in two years.

West Midlands Ambulance Service sent paramedics to HMP Featherstone, HMP Oakwood, HMP Stafford and HMP Birmingham on 823 occasions last year.

This compared to 655 in 2014.

The figures obtained in a Freedom Of Information Act request come just months after Featherstone Prison was slammed for safety.

The 687-capacity prison, run by the Ministry of Justice, received the lowest rating of one out of four in the category in an annual report.

Last year there were 193 ambulance call-outs, compared to 94 in 2014.

When contacted over the figures, the Ministry of Justice said it was taking immediate action to tackle the drugs, drones and phones that undermine security.

It also said it had seen a large increase in the number of older prisoners.

On its prison estate across the country, it said it was investing £100m annually to boost the frontline by 2,500 officers.

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A spokesman said: "We are committed to making prisons places of safety and reform and have a zero tolerance approach to violence.

“Ambulance call-outs are made by healthcare professionals when they identify risks.

"However, a significant number are for non-violent incidents, including where they attended as a precaution and when the situation was resolved by prison staff.

“Where violent incidents occur, we work closely with the police and Crown Prosecution Service to push for the strongest possible punishment – including additional time behind bars."

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Other Ministry of Justice-run prisons include HMP Stafford, where safety levels were found to be 'exceptional' according to the latest annual report.

But the prison where disgraced star Rolf Harris was jailed until May also saw an increase in call-out over the two years, from 80 to 137 last year.

G4S runs HMP Oakwood, where safety standards met according to the report.

There, ambulance call-outs dropped from 330 to 306 over the two years.

But G4S's other jail, HMP Birmingham, where a 12-hour riot took place last year, the number of call-outs rose significantly, from 141 to 187.

West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman Jamie Arrowsmith said: “As a service we receive approximately 3,000 emergency 999 calls a day.

"Whether they come to us from a prison or anyone else, they are all treated in exactly the same way.”

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
Investigations Editor - @alexross_star

Investigations Editor at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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