A pilot scheme which helps ex-offenders to get health checks has been extended in Liverpool.
Nurses from the prison health care service part of Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust have been working with the probation office in Old Swan, giving ex-offenders a health screening programme to identify who needs further treatment.
The service has now been extended for the foreseeable future, with staff to divide their time between the Old Swan and Kirkdale Probation Offices from March to ensure greater level of coverage.
When offenders visit the service for their regular appointments, Probation Offender Managers complete a health screening questionnaire with them. They are then referred to the nurses who are on site once a week.
From September to December 2010, the nurses saw 63 offenders. Of these, 50 were signposted to GPs, and 46 were signposted to a dentist. A further 11 were immunised against Hepatitis B, and 11 were given treatment including wound dressing.
Offenders are also registered with a GP and a dentist, offered hepatitis vaccinations, Chlamydia screening and a general mental health assessment.
Debbie Moore, head of healthcare at Liverpool Prison, said: “This scheme is so important, because many of the ex-offenders whom the nurses are seeing haven’t used the healthcare services as much as they could have in the past.
“As the service users are on probation, they are already in the Probation Office, so we don’t have to go and chase them. They make the decision to come and see us whilst they are there, which means they are more likely to look after themselves and follow up those appointments.