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Audit of transfers under the Mental Health Act from prison – the impact of organisational change

  • Sarah Isherwood (a1) and Janet Parrott (a2)
Abstract
AIMS AND METHOD

To describe the change in the number of referrals of prisoners and the delay in transfer to hospital under the Mental Health Act following a change in the prison health care provision. The transfer time (time from referral to transfer to psychiatric hospital) of prisoners has been audited previously over 1996 and 1997.

RESULTS

There has been an increase in the number of prisoners transferred. Both transfers under Section 48 of the Mental Health Act and the proportion of transfers to high security have increased. The average delay in transfer remains lengthy and there is a trend of increasing delay with increasing level of placement security.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS

Despite Government policies to facilitate the transfer of mentally disordered offenders, we found an increase in the delay to hospital compared with previous audits.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Birmingham, L., Mason, D. & Grubin, D. (1996) Prevalence of mental disorder in remand prisoners: consecutive case study. BMJ, 313, 15211524.
Brooke, D., Taylor, C., Gunn, J., et al (1996) Point prevalence of mental disorder in unconvicted male prisoners in England and Wales. BMJ, 313, 15241527.
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Department of Health (1999) The Future Organisation of Prison Health Care. Report by the Joint Prison Service and NHS Executive Working Group. HSC 1999/077. London: Department of Health.
Gunn, J., Maden, A. & Swinton, J. (1991) Treatment needs of prisoners with psychiatric disorder. BMJ, 303, 338341.
Home Office & Department of Health (1995) Mentally Disordered Offenders. Inter-Agency Working. Home Office Circular 66/90. London: Home Office.
Johnson, S. & Taylor, R. (2000) Statistics of Mentally Disordered Offenders, England and Wales 1999, Home Office Circular 21/00. London: Home Office.
Mackay, R. & Machin, D. (1998) Transfers from prison to hospital – the operation of Section 48 of the Mental Health Act 1983. Home Office Research Findings, No. 84.
Prison Service (1999) Prison Service Annual Report of the Director of Health Care 1997–1998. London: Stationery Office.
Reed, J. L. & Lyne, M. (2000) Inpatient care of mentally ill people in prison: results of a year's long programme of semi structured inspections. BMJ, 320, 10311034.
Singleton, N., Meltzer, H. & Gatward, R. (1997) Psychiatric Morbidity among Prisoners in England and Wales. London: Stationery Office.
Smith, J., Crowe, C., Johnson, C., et al (1992) Transfers from prison for urgent treatment: a study of Section 48 admissions. BMJ, 304, 967969.
Smith, R. (1999) Prisoners: an end to second class health care? Eventually the NHS must take over. BMJ, 318, 994995.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Audit of transfers under the Mental Health Act from prison – the impact of organisational change

  • Sarah Isherwood (a1) and Janet Parrott (a2)
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