Kirsty Hughes: Clinical Services Manager, HMP Hewell
For Kirsty, working for Practice Plus Group’s Health in Justice team fulfils two crucial criteria – creating an innovative healthcare service that supports patients to understand their own health needs, and working for a supportive employer who helps to fulfil her professional ambitions.
Kirsty qualified as an RNLD in 2014 and she has worked in prisons in Wales, Bristol and Worcestershire, progressing to the role of Clinical Services Manager at HMP Hewell. She holds responsibility for the Primary Care services, managing a large multidisciplinary team that responds to approximately 1000 patients.
She said: “I love working in prisons because it provides a genuine opportunity to improve people’s health and wellbeing. Many of our patients are from a low socio-economic group which means they are more likely to experience access barriers to healthcare. As a result, they develop poor health beliefs and are either opposed to or unaware of the fundamentals of keeping healthy. Here we have a ‘captive audience’ and we can spend time educating them and promoting their health autonomy.
“I also respect Practice Plus Group’s ethos – it really does put the patient front and centre of all it does and that is an ethos I share. It also puts great emphasis on staff development. My career is important to me and, as well as developing my clinical skills, I have been able to further my managerial skills with courses on leadership, governance and business.”
As a result of this, and the on-the-job learning and encouragement, Kirsty hopes that she will move into a Head of Healthcare role.
She also enjoys the variety of her role. She said: “You might expect a prison to have a fairly young and healthy population but, in reality, a prison is like a large village. You have a mix of young and old, fit and ailing. We see older patients who need support with dementia, wound care, long term condition management and end of life care.
“Then we have prisoners who need support with alcohol and drug addiction, people with complex mental health needs, and people who may just have sprained their ankle playing football. No two days are the same.”
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