GPs revolt over plan for out-of-hours prison care

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DOCTORS working in out-of-hours services should be not be expected to see patients in prisons, a conference has heard.

Dr Patricia Moultrie said that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde was planning to transfer out-of-hours care in prisons to GPs.

“It has been proposed that the out-of-hours GP service in Greater Glasgow and Clyde should take responsibility for the provision of out-of-hours care to the three prisons in the board area,“ she said.

The doctor told the British Medical Association conference it would mean the care of more than 2,000 people in prison falling to out-of-hours GPs.

“It is inappropriate and damaging to expect out-of-hours GP services to provide out-of-hours care to prisons for the following reasons.

“Out-of-hours GPs do not have appropriate training and experience in managing addictions as they present in detention. Out-of-hours GPs do not have training in the care needs of prisoners,” Dr Moultrie said. “Out-of-hours GPs do not have sufficient understanding of the culture of secure environments to be able to provide medical care safely in that environment.”

Dr Moultrie said in some cases it could take GPs two hours to travel to prisons to see a patient and some doctors had already indicated they did not wish to work in out-of-hours services if prisons were to be included in their workload.

She said the proposal risked destabilising out-of-hours services for other patients in the area.

Other doctors at the conference said they could not see the problem in with dealing with patients in prisons who had acute medical problems out of hours.

But the delegates backed the motion saying that out-of-hours GP services should not be expected to provide out-of- hours care to prisons.