Prisoners ‘waiting too long for dental care’

Wymott prison, Leyland
Wymott prison, Leyland
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Iinmates at Wymott Prison in Leyland are having to wait too long for dental and GP appointments, a health watchdog ruled following an inspection.

The Care Quality Commission carried out the inspection as part of a themed programme looking at offender healthcare.

A report has now been published into Sceptre Point, HMP Wymott, part of Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, following the inspection visits on June 30 and July 1.

While the trust met three standards – the care and welfare of people using their services; co-operating with other providers and supporting workers – it failed in two areas: staffing and assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.

Inspectors found that prisoners had to wait up to eight weeks to see a GP and up to 21 weeks to see a dentist.

One prisoner questioned by inspectors said: “I know we are in prison but that doesn’t mean we should be denied treatment, we are still human beings.

“We should be treated the same as people in the community who get to see a doctor.”

The inspection also found that healthcare appointments and requests to see a GP were not triaged.

One patient revealed he waited five anxious weeks to see a GP after finding a lump in his testicle.

Access to a dentist was also found to be poor. On June 30, there were 251 patients who had been waiting to see a dentist since January 30.

A spokesman for Lancashire Care Foundation Trust said: “The latest CQC report at HMP Wymott highlighted two areas which required improvement.

“Following the inspection, the trust took immediate action including the introduction of a nurse triage clinic which has led to a significant reduction in waiting times for GP appointments.

“The trust is also in discussion with commissioners with regards increasing the GP provision and we have put in place a weekly review of waiting times to ensure they are kept to a minimum. The provision of high quality services remains the trust’s key priority. We are committed to ensuring our services provide safe, effective and responsive care with patient experience at the heart of what we do.”