Telemedicine in prisons

Posted on August 26, 2014 by AireAdmin

Why is it so hard?
As well as providing telemedicine to help almost 4000 patients to stay where they are more comfortable – in their nursing or residential care home or their own home – our clinical teams deliver consultations to prisoners in 13 prisons across England.

Our innovative telemedicine journey began in offender health eight years ago. If we knew then what we know now we may have done a few things differently. For starters, we would have gathered and published independent evidence of the impact of telemedicine in offender health in the hope that in the distant 2014 we wouldn’t still be having the same old debates and we wouldn’t be seeing headlines like we have this week (see below)

19 August 2014 – “Chris Grayling insists prisons are ‘not in crisis’ in which the Prison Governors Association president Eoin McLennan Murray said “that if, for instance, a prisoner became ill and had to be taken out of prison to get treatment it might mean closing an entire wing to provide staff to escort them.”

“That means you could be locking up anything from 50-150 men for a period of time, it can be for several hours,” he added. “This is happening around the country.”

The alternative to this is: a prisoner become ill, they visit the GP in prison’s healthcare unit who makes a telemedicine call to A&E and the A&E consultant undertakes a full visual consultation. The result is, unless absolutely necessary, the prisoner does not have to leave prison. It’s a win win if we don’t have to escort prisoners to hospital!

The tax payer wins given the lowest cost of escorting a prisoner is around £200
Hospitals win as they are not disrupted by having a prisoner in handcuffs in an already busy A&E
Prisons win now they don’t have increased pressure on staff to escort and patients win . Patients already in the hospital win as they do not face the disruption of having a prisoner in handcuffs sat next to them and prisoner patients win as they now have provacy and dignity as they can have their consultation from prison.

it seems a no brainer to me so why is it so hard to adopt innovation in healthcare? Answers on a postcard please…….

Or tweet me at @smithmalin