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HIW urges Swansea Bay University Health Board to strengthen oversight of healthcare services to HMP Swansea

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) has issued a report highlighting the need for improvement in Swansea Bay University Health Board’s quality governance arrangements to support the delivery of timely, safe, and effective healthcare services to the population of Her Majesty’s Prison Swansea (HMP Swansea).

Local Review of Governance Arrangements at Swansea Bay University Health Board for the Provision of Healthcare services to Her Majesty’s Prison Swansea

The report is the outcome of a recent review looking at the governance processes in place within the health board for the delivery of healthcare to HMP Swansea. The report details HIW’s findings and recommendations for improvement. The decision to undertake this review was based on concerns relating to the health board’s response to implementing improvements, following previous inspections undertaken by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP).

HIW’s review identified several areas for improvement. The quality governance arrangements in place at the health board do not adequately support the delivery of safe and effective healthcare services to the prison. HIW has identified the need to strengthen these arrangements and raise the profile of prison healthcare within the health board, to ensure that the quality of prison healthcare is designed, delivered and monitored effectively.

Stronger partnership working is needed between the health board and the prison, to ensure that service design and delivery are reflective of the present and future intention.

HIW found a lack of adequate processes in place to oversee quality standards and identified weaknesses in how risks relating to prison healthcare were recorded, escalated, and managed. This included weaknesses in addressing issues identified by external reports and reviews, and a lack of strong evidence of learning from recommendations and capturing patient experience to inform service improvement.

The review also found that experiences and concerns raised by prison residents, such as delays in accessing dental and optometry services, were not used effectively to inform service design and improvement.

HIW recommends prison healthcare, including the quality of the service, needs to feature more prominently on the health board’s quality agenda, so that safe, effective care can be provided to the prison residents, equitable to that received by the broader population it serves.

HIW has asked the health board and prison partnership board to carefully consider the findings from this review and act upon the recommendations set out within the report. HIW will be working with the health board to ensure improvements are made in a timely manner and will monitor the progress made.

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