Two innovative Care UK projects have been shortlisted for prestigious national awards.
The first project has involved improving the healthcare of some 600 prisoners at at HMP/YOI Hollesley Bay and HMP Warren Hill in Suffolk, while the second has seen Care UK work with the University of Lincoln to develop a bespoke induction course for healthcare workers in prisons.
Both have been shortlisted in the prestigious 2015 LaingBussion awards. The annual awards recognise the very best practice in the independent and voluntary healthcare sectors. The scheme at HMP/YOI Hollesley Bay and HMP Warren Hill, which has been shortlisted in the Nursing Practice category, is designed to develop nurses’ clinical skills and improve the professional relationship and understanding between the prison healthcare team and the local emergency department. The scheme was developed by Helen Stevens, Clinical Lead at the prisons.
Care UK service manager, Carole Stannard, said: “We recognised that nurses in the prison establishment can sometimes miss out on the latest thinking in treating certain conditions due to isolated working and also that the local healthcare services have limited understanding of prison healthcare. This has led to the potentially inappropriate transfer of prisoners to the local emergency department and also to prisoners being returned to custody from the local hospital without necessary clinical information.
“We decided to look at what we could do to change this situation. We have worked closely with the emergency department at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust and together we set up a partnership project to enable prison nurses to work in the emergency department in a supernumerary capacity for one day per month. Prison nurses are learning up-to-date clinical skills and the emergency department team are developing an understanding of offender health and how this impacts on patient care.
“It is testimony to the commitment of everyone involved in this project that we have been shortlisted for this top award. We are all keeping our fingers crossed we will take the national award.”
The project in partnership with the University of Lincoln, which has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Training category, explored better ways of supporting workers who are often overawed by the challenges of a prison environment.
Steve Mason, Care UK’s regional manager Health Care, said: “We spent considerable time reviewing feedback gained from clinical and non-clinical workers which highlighted that, due to the unique challenges they faced when delivering a safe and equitable healthcare service to prisoners, a bespoke induction course was required. We realised external support was required to develop the content and the methodology for delivery so we enlisted help from the University of Lincoln, which runs the Healthcare in Secure Environments Masters Course. Together we developed a course which helps people understand the environment in which they work and support prisoners to take charge of their own health and plan for a successful rehabilitation and a brighter future.
“In April 2015, Navigating Health in Justice – The Care UK Way went through academic accreditation with the University of Lincoln. This partnership between Care UK and the University of Lincoln ensures people receive relevant training which is enhanced by current research and experts in the field. The course content is delivered by members of our team and academics from the University of Lincoln. Our own GPs, lead nurses and support staff all deliver the content which means the participants receive contemporary knowledge and allows our teams to be actively involved in the development of their new colleagues’ careers.”
The awards ceremony will take place on 11 November at London’s Lancaster Hotel, hosted by broadcaster and political commentator Michael Portillo.