Give prisoners advice on exercise and diet, says NICE draft guidance

Prisoners should be encouraged to stay active and eat a healthy diet, says draft guidance from National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).


An inmate exercising at Maidstone Prison

The institute has launched a consultation exercise on its draft guidance on physical health and prisoners. Among other things, it says prisoners should be offered information on

  • the benefits of exercise and how to use prison exercise facilities
  • preventing excess weight gain
  • healthier food options

Health promotion advice should be in line with NICE recommendations on physical activity for adults in primary care.

A challenging environment

John Kent, a senior specialist physiotherapist at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, worked at Wakefield Prison for eight years.

He told Frontline: ‘The prison environment provides many challenges in both the delivery of service and continuity of care.

‘For anyone working in this environment the main area of concern, especially when working in a high security setting, is that of security – either for prisoners or the general public.

‘With this in mind, appointments in primary care should be avoided and, wherever possible, provided in the prison. This relieves the burden of providing prisoner escorts.’

Mr Kent told Frontline that, in his experience, healthcare appointments were often missed if offered outside the prison walls.

The NICE consultation on the draft document closes on 27 June and the completed guideline is due for publication in October.

Author: Robert Millett

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