PCT and council combine to offer GP-led care for offenders

A probation centre in Merseyside is the first in England to provide GP-led care for offenders as part of a unique healthcare service offered by a PCT and council partnership.

Research suggests that offenders typically have the health profile of someone 10 years older than their age and on release from prison, the majority fail to visit a GP.

However, now all 700 users of South Knowsley Probation Centre have access to a unique, onsite healthcare centre, thanks to Knowsley Health and Wellbeing, a partnership between NHS Knowsley and Knowsley Council's directorate of wellbeing services, incorporating social care, leisure and culture services.

It includes extended access to GPs with community outreach health services, targeting some of the area's most vulnerable and marginalised groups.

Peter Hughes, team manager at South Knowsley Probation Service, said: ‘Few offenders access their own GP, even if they are feeling unwell which can have a serious detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing if illnesses go undetected and untreated.

‘Plus more than 90% of clients are smokers — leaving them much more susceptible to health complications. We wanted to build on the successful nurse-led healthcare scheme and worked with Knowsley Health and Wellbeing to ensure we have a programme that all our service users can access.'

One GP and two nurses are based at the centre.

Editor's blog: Should councils run PCTs?

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