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Rapid review of evidence of the impact on health outcomes of NHS commissioned health services for people in secure and detained settings to inform future health interventions and prioritisation in England

Through the 2015/16 remit letter, the Department of Health (DH) commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to undertake a rapid review of evidence of improvements in health outcomes for people in secure and detained settings of NHS commissioned health services with a view to inform the DH’s future prioritisation for work in the area. The time point at which this evidence review occurred coincided with ten years of commissioning of prison health services by the NHS in England & Wales.

This change from the Ministry of Justice was initiated by the report The Future Organisation of Prison Healthcare in response to the findings of a highly critical report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIPs) in 1996. A paper on these prison health reforms, published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2006, reflected on the benefits on prison health of transfer of responsibility to the DH and the NHS measured against the state of prison healthcare outlined in the HMIP report. The paper cites benefits of health commissioning to include greater transparency, evidence-based assessment of health needs, tackling professional isolation, improving the quality of care and integration of prison populations into wider public health programmes.