HEALTHCARE at a prison near Rugby is insufficient, an independent report has revealed.
A report by HM Prison Rye Hill’s Independent Monitoring Board has raised concern that the prison’s health provision is struggling due to a rise in the average age of inmates.
Also noted were an increase in incidents of self-harm and a shortage of secure mental health placements – all as a result of the jail changing last year from a training prison to become the only category B sex offender prison in England and Wales.
The report states: “The new population has increased demands on health care and additional provision for the elderly and for end-of-life care, and this requires urgent action.
“The needs of the new population appear to have led to a shift towards more threatened and actual self-harm. Practice in this area is now carefully managed and monitored at all levels.”
A Health Needs Analysis review has been conducted with the NHS to highlight areas where extra resources can be made available.
The report also praises the prison, run by G4S, for “improved leadership”, fewer incidents of violence, and improvement in the range of activities available to prisoners.
It also said the prison’s three-month transition to a sex-offender only unit was handled “professionally, decently and without significant incident”.
Sheila Davie, Chairman of the IMB at Rye Hill, said: “The IMB will continue to monitor progress towards a safe and humane environment and actively observe provision of health care for the new population.”
G4S Director for Rye Hill Richard Stedman said: “It has been a challenging year for Rye Hill and I am encouraged that today’s report recognises the commitment and hard work of the team in re-configuring the prison.
“The re-purposing of the prison was done without incident and we are now focused on working with the medical team and commissioners as well as the Ministry of Justice to ensure Rye Hill’s layout and healthcare provisions are suitable for the older and more infirm population now at the prison.”
G4S head of UK prisons Jerry Petherick added: “The fastest growing segments of the prison population are among those aged over 50, owing in part to more late life prosecutions for historical sex offences.
“We have seen the effect of these changes in sharp relief at HMP Rye Hill. More than 40 per cent of men at the prison are now aged over 50 and 18 per cent are aged over 60. This brings immense challenges as we change our regime, prison infrastructure and environment.
“There is still a long way to go and our infrastructure in particular is still to catch up. We’re working with the Ministry of Justice to look at options to boost the number of wheelchair-suitable cells, and also to improve access and space to expand healthcare.”
In June, an Ofsted report revealed staff at the nearby Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre – also run by G4S – had subjected teenage inmates to degrading treatment and racism. Bosses at the centre now claim improvements have now been made.