Innovative healthcare

We’re proud to be leading the way with our unique approach to delivering healthcare in the justice system.

HiJ providing services

About us

We have dedicated healthcare teams working in prisons across the country who are passionate about helping the prison population – a socially excluded group with traditionally very poor outcomes – to develop lasting, positive health and wellbeing.

In a matter of a few years, we have grown our Health In Justice service line to over 45 prisons. Today we provide all forms of care, from primary and nursing care to sexual health, mental health and substance misuse service, and on any one day, we’re responsible for the healthcare of over 35,000 patients.

We work across the offender pathway, from arrest to sentence and release, and we partner with organisations with credibility and presence in that pathway, including a number of mental health trusts.

Find out more about the types of healthcare services we deliver.

Innovative care

We’re always working on new ideas and models of care which enhance the quality of care patients receive in prison. Here are just a few of our innovations:

Making the most of technology

Our offender health services make full use of the latest technology to ensure that patients receive the best care within the shortest timescales, all while ensuring the safety and security of the prison and prisoner. For example, we’re able to utilise the benefits of remote consultations with patients using handheld devices via Telemeds and SystemOne. We’ve also introduced autonomous dispensing units for medications at a number of a prisons that were considered to be appropriate for more independent medication supply (i.e. Cat D prisons).

Our holistic model

In traditional prisons, there are three core pathways: primary care, substance misuse and mental health. A patient entering the prison will be referred into one, two or all three of these pathways, however, these strands of care will run alongside each other and be delivered by different teams, with little, if any crossover.

Instead, we have developed an innovative wellbeing model that moves away from this disease-led model of the past to one based on a holistic approach that draws upon the key elements of a person’s health and wellbeing: physical health, mental health, substance misuse, relationships, resettlement and re-offending.

Our care planning takes place across all five of these elements and involves the patient in their own recovery. We look at individual barriers to change – elements like anxiety, poor coping skills and poor social skills – as these can affect many aspects of a person’s life. We deliver an integrated approach to care that enables those in prison to make lasting changes. Central to this new model is a Wellbeing Wheel, a self-assessment tool that we encourage patients to use to score themselves.

Patient involvement and peer support

People with ‘lived experience’ are vital for helping us shape our healthcare delivery, and they’re vital in helping those who are just starting out on the journey of recovery. We’ve seen how peer support has been central to reducing reoffending and poor compliance with medicines and are the first organisation to introduce peer support in the form of local ‘Health Champions.’ We have employed patients at a number of our prisons to help their peers with their health and wellbeing, and support them with training and qualifications. We’ve been recognised by the Patient Safety Awards for this initiative as it’s still very usual to find this approach in primary care and mental health.

National safer prescribing strategy

Many prisoners are on a cocktail of drugs (illicit and prescribed) when they enter prisons. The risk is that these can find their way into the rest of prison. At Practice Plus Group we believe we have a duty to safeguard the prisoner’s health and that of the rest of the prison population; we also want to reduce drug dependency. As a result we’re using a range of practical and psychologically informed strategies to reduce drug use in prison. These range from stress management and peer support, to the use of health trainers.

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