Telemedicine in prisons

In 2006, the Trust began a project with HM Prison Services, at Full Sutton Prison, near York, to assess the potential benefit of introducing new technology – telemedicine – into offender health care. The service has:

  • Improved offender health and reduce health inequalities
  • Improved the range and scope of care delivered to the prison
  • Improved access to specialist opinions for the onsite medical team
  • Supported the in house nursing and medical team
  • Identified inefficiencies and reduce bed watch and escort costs
  • Reduced the health care pathway from multiple visits to single visits to hospital
  • Reduced risks and disruption to the wider community
  • Improved the quality of the service provided

Telemedicine has enabled the prison medical team to receive prompt advice from skilled A&E consultants in acute medical situations. It also gave nursing staff and prison GPs support and advice to manage individuals’ care. This was by confirming the diagnosis or making a differential diagnosis based on an ‘expert assessment’ using a remote video based consultation. Treatment was then managed in the form of an agreed care plan.

The service is 24/7 and provided across 23 specialities for 12 prisons across the UK. The specialities include:

Breast surgery (male)
Cardiology
Clinical haematology
Diabetic Medicine
Dietetics
Dermatology
ENT
Endocrinology
Gastroenterology
General Medicine
General surgery
Neurology
Orthopaedics
Orthotics
Palliative Care
Physiotherapy
Respiratory Medicine
Rheumatology
Speech and Language
Tissue Viability
Trauma/A&E
Urology
Vascular surgery