Research suggests that offenders typically have the health profile of someone 10 years older and, on release from prison, the majority fail to visit a GP.
However, all 700 users of South Knowsley Probation Centre now have access to an on-site healthcare centre. This is thanks to Knowsley Health and Wellbeing, a partnership between NHS Knowsley and Knowsley Council's directorate of wellbeing services, which incorporates 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 a GP, even if they are feeling unwell, which can have a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing if illnesses go undetected and untreated.
'Plus more than 90 per cent of clients are smokers - leaving them much more susceptible to health complications.'