Give prisoners health assessments and exercise advice, says NICE

Prisoners in England should receive comprehensive health assessments and advice about staying active.


Inmates exercising at Maidstone Prison

This is the message in a guideline titled Physical health of people in prison, published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on 2 November.

The guideline recommends that new prisoners should have health assessments that include questions about their physical and mental health.

In addition, they should be offered information about

  • the benefits of exercise and how to use provided exercise facilities 
  • ways to prevent excess weight gain
  • healthy diets and the healthier food options available in prison

Post-release care plans

NICE also suggests that prisoners should be given advice about sexual health, personal hygiene and stopping smoking. On release, they should be helped to register with a GP, the guideline states, and given care plans detailing any hospital admissions or other significant health events that occurred in prison.

Pulmonary specialist physio Louise Goswell provides pulmonary rehab to prisoners at Littlehey Prison, a category C prison in Perry, Cambridgeshire.

She told Frontline: ‘It is essential prisoners are well educated around the importance of fitness and for this to be part of the rehabilitation training process in prisons. Pulmonary Rehabilitation fits into this guidance of practice for COPD patients perfectly.’

Author: Robert Millett

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