Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust and Pact (the Prison Advice and Care Trust) have agreed an innovative new partnership to improve the experience of patients and families in the prison system.

Both organisations work within the justice system and can see the potential to work together to improve services for people needing healthcare and to reduce health inequalities.

The ambition of the partnership is to be a united voice for positive change to create healthier environments. It aims to:

  • Create greater continuity of care between the justice system and the wider community to improve health outcomes.
  • Increase effective user and carer involvement consistently.
  • Develop opportunities for shared learning between organisations.

The health of people in prison is at historically low levels and prisoners’ health problems are often exacerbated by separation from family and carers. Families bring with them a wealth of knowledge - they know what ‘well’ looks like and understand the subtle signs that someone is struggling.

Despite this, research published in February by Pact  shows that much more could be done to ensure that families and carers can play a greater role in supporting their loved-ones in prison.

Oxleas and Pact have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding that will see the two organisations work together over the next three years to explore new ways to improve prison healthcare.

Importantly, this partnership is not an exclusive relationship, and does not prevent Pact or Oxleas from working with other organisations.

Dr Ify Okocha, Oxleas Chief Executive, said: “As the biggest NHS provider of health services in prisons, we are keen to work in partnership to improve healthcare. Involving patients and their families in developing services is a key way to make such improvements. We are very pleased to be signing this agreement and look forward to working more closely together.”

Andy Keen-Downs, Pact CEO said: “All the research and guidance stress the vital role that families and carers play in helping people who are ill to get better. But too often people find themselves locked out of the system when a loved-one goes to prison. We’re delighted to be signing this new agreement with Oxleas and look forward to working with them to find new ways to improve prison healthcare.”