Skipton nurse takes on healthcare for 47 prisons

A Skipton nurse takes on prison healthcare, being appointed to the new post of director of nursing and quality for Practice Plus Group’s Health in Justice division, which serves patients in 47 prisons.

Prison healthcare nurse, Maggie Wood
Skipton nurse, Maggie Wood

Maggie Wood, a registered nurse with a Masters in Applied Research, has worked within health and justice for 20 years, delivering and developing health and wellbeing services to meet the needs of those in contact with the justice system.

Working initially within police custody and developing the role of forensic custody nurses, Maggie progressed to a national governance role before transferring to work in prison healthcare and has worked within several young offender institutes and prisons.

Within the sector, Maggie has also been a quality lead for the NHS England Health and Justice team and clinical lead and independent professional nurse advisor for the Death in Custody Review Service for prisons in the North.

Now she leads around 850 nurses, supporting overseeing the development of service integration and the drive for nursing excellence. Asked why she is excited with her new role Maggie explains:

“Practice Plus Group provides healthcare services in 47 prisons throughout England. Nursing in Health and Justice is both challenging and uniquely rewarding. Many of our patients may not have received or accessed support to manage their health and wellbeing needs.

Care and support provided can impact not only on them individually, but also on their families and from a social value perspective can support individuals to make real changes to their lives that help reduce the risk of reoffending.”

She continued:

“Nursing within prisons is varied and complex and offers the opportunity to use a wide range of nursing and advanced nursing skills. We work alongside allied healthcare professionals and prison colleagues to deliver care in innovative ways for people within the confines of a secure environment.

From assessment and screening to providing triage and emergency response services, supporting patients with mental health and substance use issues, through to management of long-term conditions and the challenges of providing compassionate end-of-life care within prison there are endless opportunities to utilise acquired nursing skills and develop new ones.

All of this leads to Health in Justice Services that embrace evolution. Like all other services, during the pandemic prison healthcare has needed to adapt. Use of telephone assessments, telemedicine consultations and a more wing-based nursing approach has been employed. The coronavirus saw nurses spending time delivering care on the wings and in some prisons, this has increased healthcare visibility and accessibility and impacted positively on patient experience and care – an additional bonus to an already rewarding job.”