RECOOP and the Buddy Support Scheme is highlighted as an example of excellence in IMB yearly report
Primary Care is under increased pressure because of the number of prisoners coming into prison with health and social care needs. Remand prisons, in particular, suffer as the volumes of people passing through can be over 200 per month. With restricted staffing levels in many prisons this can be exacerbated when prison officers are required to escort prisoners out to hospital appointments.
Some prisoners will develop dementia whilst in prison and others may be admitted with and develop acute and life threatening conditions. Due to regime demands there is little time for officers to spend quality time with these prisoners and healthcare teams are already stretched.
In the Devon prisons (HMPs Channings Wood, Dartmoor and Exeter) selected prisoners are trained in 14 modules, based on the National Care Standards, to support their fellow inmates who have social care needs. This ‘Buddy Support Scheme’ has been highly praised in the recently published IMB annual report HMP Exeter:
The Report highlights examples of Good Practice:
The location of the social work team within the prison and the development of the ‘buddy’ scheme to support prisoners with social care needs on normal location is excellent practice. (10. para 5.1)
The establishment of the Social Work team (Devon County Council, located in HMP Exeter but serving the three prisons in the cluster) to comply with Care Act 2014 has brought significant benefits ensuring that health and social care needs are identified at reception and prisoners are assessed promptly. Those identified as having care needs but not eligible for a place on F Wing may be allocated a ‘buddy’ to provide all kinds of assistance other than personal care. These buddies are well trained and supported and can work towards achieving Health and Social Care NVQ Level 1. Buddies are trained in 14 modules, based on the National Care Standards:. It is believed that Exeter is the first prison nationally to have established this scheme and the Board commends it as an example of excellent practice. (Para 5.1)
All Buddy training and support is delivered in the Devon Prison Cluster by RECOOP.
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