Prisoners complain about lack of mental health support, says report

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Inmates at a Scottish prison have complained that they receive no mental health support, according to a report.

A team from the Mental Welfare Commission visited HMP Glenochil in Clackmannanshire and met with 12 people serving time there.

The report warns inmates are not getting the support required. Paul Faith/PA Wire

The report warns inmates are not getting the support required. Paul Faith/PA Wire

The prison governor told the team that one of the biggest challenges facing the prison and health staff is the ageing population of men with increased physical and mental health needs.

It was also found there were 725 inmates at the 670-person capacity jail.

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The watchdog’s report claims prisoners were not positive about the mental health service available to them, with some saying they felt they receive no support.

HMP Barlinnie. Picture: JPIMedia

HMP Barlinnie. Picture: JPIMedia

Blame was attributed to the fact there is sometimes only one nurse available and that they are “very busy”.

This was the case when the team visited the prison in August, with limited staff numbers put down to “sickness and staff vacancies”.

The commission set out three recommendations, which it says must be responded to within three months.

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These include NHS Forth Valley ensuring plans to increase the mental health workforce in HMP Glenochil are progressed, health service managers overseeing better promotion of advocacy services, as well as improving the system of care planning for prisoners with complex needs.

The commission said it was pleased to be able to speak with an inmate who attends a group with nursing staff and prisoners.

However, it also raised concerns about prisoner care plans.

The report said: “It was difficult to find the care plans, and those that were in place were variable and some had not been reviewed in quite a considerable time.

“On reviewing the prisoners’ files we saw evidence that prisoners’ physical healthcare needs were being addressed.”

A Mental Welfare Commission spokesman said: “We undertake over 100 local visits like these every year.

“By publishing our reports we hope to help share good practice where we find it, and call for change where services are lacking.”

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