The Department of Justice has published Crowe Ireland's report on the Health Needs Assessment for the Irish Prison Service (IPS). This is the first comprehensive health needs assessment undertaken for the IPS and includes the whole prison estate across Ireland.
The report provides a series of qualified recommendations, together with a narrative of the issues, challenges, and operations associated with healthcare provision at the IPS. This was inclusive of recommendations for strengthening prison health and care services, policies, and strategies, and recommendations for improving governance. All of the evidence presented in the report was subject to rigorous collaborative scrutiny across a broad range of stakeholders, with a defined transition map to deliver transformative changes.
Announcing the publication, Minister for Justice Simon Harris said:
"This is a really valuable report setting out 60 recommendations for the best development of healthcare services in the Irish Prison Service. The wide-ranging recommendations address general healthcare provision, women's healthcare, mental health services, addiction and substance misuse services. A number of recommendations relate to the governance and resourcing of healthcare provision in the Prison Service.
"The Report also includes a draft implementation plan which has been developed to take forward the majority of recommendations. The Irish Prison Service will lead on implementation, with much of the work taking place over the next three years."
Crowe's Head of Consulting Services, Shane McQuillan, commented: "We were very pleased to support the IPS in this wide-ranging review of prison healthcare. Conducting the assignment during the most difficult days of Covid presented some challenges for our combined clinical and advisory teams undertaking comprehensive site visits in the 12 prisons, and whilst we identified 60 areas for strengthening IPS healthcare services, there was a solid foundation of good practice and professional dedication for the IPS to build upon in the coming months and years."
The full report is available to download here.