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Sunday Business Post: Prison service hits out at ‘unsuitable’ medical provisions

2nd May 2010

In The Sunday Business Post, Public Affairs Correspondent John Burke reports on a newly published review of health care provision in the Irish prison system.

The article describes how Ireland’s prisons are rife with disease and have substandard medical facilities, with a widely varying standard of healthcare between institutions, according to a report commissioned by the Irish Prison Service. The report found that the medical infrastructure at more than one-third of the state’s 14 prisons was ‘‘unsuitable’’ for meeting patient needs; it also found that diseases such as hepatitis C are ‘‘endemic’’ in the prison population.

"Their report was commissioned by the IPS in cooperation with the Irish Medical Organisation, as part of an attempt to resolve long-standing concerns by prison doctors over the state of the medical facilities. The report was submitted to the IPS last year but was not published."

The article includes comment by Liam Herrick, executive director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), that "some progress" had been made recently in improving healthcare provision in the prison system.

"The poor physical conditions in the older prisons and the strain on services due to the pressure of growing prisoner numbers are serious challenges, and there is uneven provision of care across the country," he said.

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