Eric Ollerenshaw – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department of Health

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Eric Ollerenshaw on 2014-05-07.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what data his Department collects on prescriptions dispensed to prisoners.

Norman Lamb

Information on the number of prisoners who are prescribed a particular medicine or class of medicine is not collected centrally, nor are data held relating to prescription items dispensed in prisons.

NHS England commissions all pharmacy services in prisons in England. It is responsible for the quality of service and for ensuring that good practice guidelines are followed in relation to the prescribing, safe use and treatment following withdrawal of psychotropic drugs treatments, including benzodiapines and Z-drugs. Where healthcare professionals have concerns about prescribing decisions in relation to psychotropic drug treatment in prisons, they should record these as medication safety incidents and report them to the local medicines management committee for possible further investigation. NHS England commissioners also require healthcare providers to report these incidents in patient safety contract monitoring.

Prison pharmacy services currently follow guidelines set out in A Pharmacy Service for Prisoners, issued by the Department in 2003. NHS England is currently reviewing this guidance, and updated guidance will be published in due course. A copy of the current guidance has already been placed in the Library.

Detailed guidance on benzodiazepine detoxification for prisoners is included in Clinical Management of Drug Dependence in the Adult Prison Setting, published by the Department in 2006. A copy has already been placed in the Library. Clinicians are expected to follow this and other relevant guidance such as that published by the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Secure Environments Group on Safer Prescribing in Prisons.