HC Deb 20 December 1989 vol 164 cc272-3W
Mr. John Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he intends to conduct a review of the operation of the prison medical service.

Mr. Mellor

Yes. My right hon. and learned Friend has decided to carry out an efficiency scrutiny of the prison medical service with the following terms of reference.

  1. (1) To examine the effectiveness and value for money of the prison service's arrangements for providing medical and dental services for inmates of penal establishments.
  2. (2) To consider in particular, having regard to the Government's response to the July 1986 report on the prison medical service by the House of Commons Social Services Select Committee and taking as given the need to retain a separate medical service, the following aspects of the service:
    1. (a) the policy and practice in management of the prison medical service and in the employment and deployment of both full and part-time medical and other staff, including the use made of locum tenens and visiting NHS specialists and consultants;
    2. (b) the scale of provision of hospital facilities in penal establishments necessary to support the medical service provided;
    3. (c) the policy and practice of purchasing, stockholding and control of pharmaceutical supplies; and
    4. (d) arrangements for training prison medical service personnel, ie doctors, nurses and hospital officers.
  3. (3) Having regard to the arrangements and management practices in comparable organisations, to make recommendations on changes to increase value for money and effectiveness; and on performance indicators to enable the director of prison medical services to monitor efficiency arid cost-effectiveness.

The scrutiny will be conducted by a team of officials led by Mr. Robert Wootton. Dr. Pamela Mason of the Department of Health will act as medical assessor. I will exercise ministerial supervision. The scrutiny will begin in early January and I expect to receive the report during May.

The scrutiny team will be consulting widely about the operation of the service and interested parties may wish to send their observations in writing by 12 February to the prison medical service scrutiny team, room 1106, Home Office, 50 Queen Anne's gate, London SW1H 9AT.