NHS England Health and Justice South are seeking to commission a pilot for physical healthcare provision in Reading criminal courts. The pilot provision will be an embedded healthcare practitioner in the Magistrates’ Court custody suite who can respond on-demand to Reading Crown Court custody suite.
From 2013 the legal responsibility for commissioning healthcare in criminal courts became the responsibility of NHS England. The commissioning of Court settings healthcare is a legal requirement and to properly commission this healthcare a full and comprehensive national Health Needs Analysis (HNA) was carried out by NHS England Health and Justice Commissioning in 2018.
The national HNA for court healthcare identified there is a high level of physical health need amongst detainees in court custody across both Magistrates’ and Crown Courts. The HNA demonstrates, the need is most acute and most likely to be unmet in the Magistrates’ Court cells.
The pilot will set out to demonstrate the effectiveness of a full equitable NHS-type care pathway across the whole of the Thames Valley criminal justice journey. It will endeavour to show reduction in risk to detained people and an improvement in the times to process detained people through reception at HMP Bullingdon. It will serve to inform the development of service specifications for court healthcare and outline the benefits to prisoner safety and continuity of healthcare for the substantive contract which is due to commence in 2020.
The main thrust of healthcare provision in this context should be towards assessment of clinical needs, to ensure unmet and unknown need is identified and suitably managed. All patients received into custody will therefore require an assessment.
The core elements of the service include:
• Assess all those coming into court custody
• Prescribe for those detoxing until they arrive in prison
• Promote healthcare and make referrals to prison healthcare providers
• Access local Summary Care Records and Mental Health records
• Carry out first night screening and complete templates on an IT system that is able to communicate with Systm One in prison healthcare.
• Improve the links between police healthcare and prison healthcare and alert the prison about the needs of those who will be arriving into reception prior to arrival.
The commissioner has a budget of up to £100,000 for the pilot which will run for 12 months and is expected to commence in January 2020.
This procurement is being carried out by NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit (SCW) on behalf of the Commissioners.