Home > Irish Prison Service - annual report 2005.

Reynolds, Siobhan (2006) Irish Prison Service - annual report 2005. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 20, Winter 2006 , p. 22.

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The Irish Prison Service (IPS) annual report for 2005 was published in September 2006.1 The aim of the IPS healthcare system is to deliver a standard of healthcare to all prisoners that is equivalent to that available in the wider community.  Healthcare is provided to prisoners at the level of primary care, by general practitioners, nurses and medical orderlies.

The mid-term review of the National Drugs Strategy in 2005 recommended that the IPS collaborate with key stakeholders such as the Drugs Strategy Unit of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and the National Drugs Strategy Team (NDST).  Acting on this recommendation, the IPS presented relevant issues on the drugs situation in prisons to the NDST and the National Advisory Committee on Drugs.  The NDST now wishes to incorporate individual prisons into the work of the local and regional drugs task forces.

Drug treatment

A total of nine prisons provide methadone treatment, with 1,564 prisoners receiving methadone substitution in 2005, an increase of 255 (16.5%) on the previous year (Table 1).  Of these, 169 individuals received methadone substitution for the first time in prison.

Table 1   Numbers receiving methadone substitution treatment in Irish prisons in 2005


Total patients

New patients

Cloverhill Prison



Dochas Centre



Limerick Prison



Midlands Prison



Mountjoy Main Prison



Mountjoy Prison Medical Unit



Portlaoise Prison



St Patrick’s Institution



Wheatfield Prison







In October 2005 the HSE and the IPS awarded a joint contract to a pharmaceutical company for the supply of methadone.  This joint purchasing agreement will ensure:

·         continuity of treatment for prisoners who move between the community and prison

·         a regular supply of methadone

·         significant cost savings to the IPS.

 In 2005, a contract was awarded for the provision of pharmacy services to Shelton Abbey. Due to the lack of professional pharmacy services in prisons, the IPS now intends to introduce a contracted pharmacy service provided by a community pharmacy to all prisons.  Such a service will result in improved patient care and efficient use of medicines.

Other significant developments in the prison healthcare system in 2005 were:

·         A clinical data system which will record and store clinical information across the prison system was developed.

·         An overall Strategic Statement which will inform the medium-term development and provision of prison healthcare was finalised.

·         A joint initiative between the IPS and the HSE South Western Area led to the appointment of a consultant psychiatrist in adult addictions.  This contributes to the healthcare strategy and increases the range of in-reach services available to prisoners.  A similar appointment was made in the HSE Northern Area in 2004 to provide sessions at the Mountjoy complex.

·         The role of healthcare managers in the IPS was highlighted in the Proposal for Organisational Change (which dealt with revised working arrangements in prisons), and a clinical nursing management structure within the prison system is being introduced.


1.  Irish Prison Service (2006) Annual Report 2005.  Dublin: Irish Prison Service.

Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 20, Winter 2006
Date:October 2006
Page Range:p. 22
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 20, Winter 2006
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:MM-MO Crime and law > Justice system > Correctional system and facility > Prison
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care programme or facility > Prison-based health service
VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland

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