Monday, 14 April 2008

Securing care for patients in prison

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) recently brought together doctors, prisoner advocates, members of Health and Justice Departments from across Australia, and others working in correctional health services for a meeting in Melbourne to begin work on developing Prisoner Health Care Standards In The Australian Correctional System.

“This important project follows our work on developing health care standards for residents of immigration detention centres. The RACGP has a strong advocacy agenda and we aim to be the voice for the voiceless in the healthcare debate,” said Dr Vasanatha Preetham, Perth-based general practitioner and RACGP President.

“Many doctors across Australia are committed to working with disenfranchised patient groups. In moving to develop these standards, we are supporting our patients and those doctors who provide their care. A key priority in developing these standards is to work together with groups including The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association to ensure the provision of culturally appropriate health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“At our recent meeting, doctors and other stakeholders from across Australia, many of whom work in the correctional system, came together to advance the development of standards to ensure that people in prison have access to quality health care.

“The sort of people who become prisoners often come from a background of social disadvantage. Priority areas for their health care are the detection of mental health concerns and the level of ongoing support these people receive in the prison system. Many of these patients move about the prison and health systems; we need to ensure they receive a consistent level of care.

“A key element of our correctional system is to ensure the prison system and the health care system can support the reintroduction of prisoners into society on the completion of their prison term. Within the prison system, people are exposed to many potential health hazards. While they have committed a crime, this does not disqualify them from the right to access high quality health care to ensure that they are well when they return to society.

“By hosting this meeting, we aimed to get a better understanding of what works in prison health. We are also keen to develop a network of general practitioners to give a nationally consistent focus to the development of these standards. Given that corrections is a matter of state government responsibility, we appreciate the challenge involved, but are committed to one set of standards for all prisons in Australia.”
racgp, royal, australian, college, general, practitioners, media, release, press, 2008, care, prison

Publication Date: 9 April 2008
Authorised By: Media
For further media enquiries contact Jason Berek-Lewis, National Manager - Media and Communications tel: 0404 055 265.

This website is accredited by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) ABN 34 000 223 807, 1 Palmerston Cr, South Melbourne VIC 3205. Ph : +61 (3) 8699 0414 Fax : +61 (3) 8699 0400

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is responsible for maintaining standards for quality clinical practice, education and training, and research in Australian general practice. The RACGP has the largest general practitioner membership of any medical organisation in Australia, with the majority of Australia's general practitioners belonging to their professional college. Over 23 000 general practitioners participate in the RACGP Continuing Professional Development Program. The RACGP National Rural Faculty, representing more than 5000 members, has the largest rural general practitioner membership of any medical organisation in Australia. Read more about the College.

No comments: