Major concerns of Prison impact on Wrexham Health service

Super PrisonMajor concerns of Prison impact on Wrexham Health service

Real concerns are being raised about the impact of the proposed Super Prison in Wrexham on local health service, following publication of evidence that Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board has no idea about the full impact of the prison on the health service, even though a planning decision on the prison is imminent.

Health campaigners say that, following the closure of several community hospitals in the area, Wrexham Maelor Hospital is already under severe pressure.

Mabon ap Gwynfor of the North Wales Health Alliance said: “We have been critical of the Health Board for poor workforce planning in the past, but to be fair how can they plan ahead if they don’t know the likely impact of the super prison? The closure of Llangollen and Flint community hospitals has reduced the number of beds available and put added pressure on Wrexham Maelor and Chirk hospitals. We are seeing increasing numbers of delayed transfers of care at both hospitals. Ambulances are queuing nine deep to discharge patients, while patients are consequently waiting for over an hour or more for an ambulance to get to emergencies.

“If the super prison gets the go ahead with 2,100 inmates, we will see large increases in demand on our local health service but no corresponding funds to finance the service that will be required. We are really concerned about these proposals and believe the UK Government should consider additional funds for healthcare”.

PR: New evidence shows health board will not know full impact of the Wrexham super prison until May 2015

New evidence made public today (Thursday 30 October 2014) shows that Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will not know the full impact of the Wrexham ‘super prison’ on their work until May 2015, this despite an imminent decision on whether to grant full planning for the prison due on 3 November 2014.

This latest piece of evidence follows concerns prisoner healthcare in Wales is already underfunded by the UK Government with the additional costs falling on the Welsh Government and Local Health Boards.

The information released to the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University under Freedom of Information shows that the health board will not determine the “health requirements”, “cost” or “staffing resource” needed to accommodate the new prison until May 2015, as outlined in the response:

  1. A Health Needs Assessment is being developed and will not be completed until May 2015.  This will be used to develop cost projections for prisoner healthcare at the North Wales Prison.
  2. This will be used to scope what staffing resources are needed alongside any associated training needs.
  3. This will be used to inform Healthcare requirements.

This again has led to calls for the real impacts of what will be the second biggest prison in Western Europe to be properly scrutinised by politicians in Wrexham and Wales.

Responding to the new evidence, Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University researcher Robert Jones said,

“While the case to receive full planning permission will once again be put before Wrexham Council Planning Committee on Monday (3 November 2014), what this information shows is that the true cost of the prison still remains unknown to politicians in Wales.

“In particular, until a Health Care Needs Assessment is completed, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board will remain in the dark about what requirements and costs the Wrexham ‘super’ prison is likely to present them.

“Prisonser healthcare does not come cheap and given the potential for very high medical costs to the local area from the new prison,  it is essential to ensure that not a single brick of the prison is laid before we know the full impact of the ‘super’ prison.”

Responding to new evidence made public today (Thursday 30 October 2014) by the Wales Governance Centre which highlights the lack of information about the full health costs of the proposed Wrexham ‘super prison’, Juliet Lyon, Director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:

“Government plans for a 2,000-place ‘super prison’ in North Wales are the equivalent of building a very sick small town on Wrexham’s doorstep. It would be short sighted of councillors to give the green light to this massive jail without the opportunity to consider its full associated costs and impact on devolved local health services in Wales.

The full agenda for the Wrexham County Borough Council Planning Committee for Monday 3 November 2014 can be found below. Matters relating to the prison can be found on page 34: http://moderngov.wrexham.gov.uk/documents/g2515/Public%20reports%20pack%2003rd-Nov-2014%2018.30%20Planning%20Committee.pdf?T=10&LLL=undefined

The full response from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board can be seen below:

Response:

  1. A paper went to Board on 29th July 2014.  The paper provided a briefing on the North Wales Prison developments, no subsequent papers have been written to date.

http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/861/opendoc/245106

  1. A Health Needs Assessment is being developed and will not be completed until May 2015.  This will be used to develop cost projections for prisoner healthcare at the North Wales Prison.
  1. As noted in response to question 2, the Health Needs Assessment will not be completed until May 2015.  This will be used to scope what staffing resources are needed alongside any associated training needs.
  1.   As noted in response to question 2, the Health Needs Assessment will not be completed until May 2015.  This will be used to inform Healthcare requirements

Figures relating to prisoner healthcare

An estimated 36% of people in prison have a disability compared to 20% of men and 18% of women in the community.

The average age of people dying from natural causes in prison between 2007 and 2010 was just 56 years old.

In 2013, 25% of women and 15% of men in prison reported symptoms indicative of psychosis. The rate among the general public is about 4%.

Investment in prison healthcare in 2011-12 stood at £231.7 million, an increase of 78% from the £130 million spent in 2003-04.

Source: Prison Reform Trust (2014) Bromley Briefing Prison Factfile, London: Prison Reform Trust. Available at http://www.prisonreformtrust.org.uk/Portals/0/Documents/Bromley%20Briefings/Factfile%20Autumn%202014.pdf

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