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Standards for health services in Australian prisons

Foreword

People incarcerated in Australian prisons or detained in custody often face complex problems with their health and wellbeing. These problems can stem from a myriad of sources including the individual’s cultural, religious and sociopolitical background, as well as their understanding of health and illness and any previous experience of the prison system.

It is acknowledged that health services in Australian prisons are run by the relevant state or territory department of health or department of justice (Victoria only). However, the RACGP Standards for health services in Australian prisons (the Standards) are designed to support general practitioners working to achieve better health outcomes for people incarcerated in Australian prisons or detained in custody.

Following the release of the RACGP Standards for health services in Australian immigration detention centres, GPs working in the area of custodial health recommended that the College develop a comparable set of standards to accommodate the special circumstances and challenges facing health services in Australian prisons.

The RACGP NECSGP worked collaboratively with a network of GPs with a specific interest in custodial health to customise the RACGP Standards for general practices (3rd edition) and to publish the RACGP Standards for health services in Australian prisons.

General practitioners providing healthcare in prisons face the usual challenges of general practice in addition to a range of complex issues such as the need to balance privacy and confidentiality with safety and security and patients at risk of self destructive behaviour.

It is envisaged that these Standards will evolve as more research is undertaken into this complex domain of primary healthcare.

The NECSGP thanks all those individuals and organisations who have contributed to this project. Your collective contributions have enabled the RACGP to deliver this first edition of Standards for health services in Australian prisons.

Dr Lynton Hudson
Chair
National Expert Committee on Standards for General Practices
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Professor Claire Jackson
President
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

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