Our Medicines Management team were requested to support NHS England commissioners in ensuring prisoners in Kent, Surrey and Sussex (approximately 18,500 prisoners) receive the right medicines.

Our first level of support is at the procurement stage, where the team can assist with the specification and act as subject matter experts when bids are assessed.

We help at review meetings to ensure the service is being delivered in line with the contract’s requirements.

We have reviewed the medicines administration process in all 14 prisons, using both unannounced visits and ongoing self-assessments.   These have raised numerous issues, including concerns about both prisoner and staff safety.

We have made sure that providers comply with legislation and regulations. They have developed action plans to address the issues we raised and these are monitored at the providers’ Medicines Management Committee, which our team attends.

We ensure that medicines administration points are fit for purpose, that the prisoner receives medicines in the right format, with the right time between doses and sufficient water in a confidential manner. We ensure this is done in the right environment with adequate supervision, to reduce the risk of them being diverted to other prisoners.

We are also able to offer bespoke services, such as reviewing the Patient Group Directions across Kent, Surrey and Sussex to ensure they are legal, meet best practice requirements and are appropriate within the service.

We ensure that 18,500 prisoners across 14 prisons in Kent, Surrey and Sussex receive the right medication

As the team are now members of the six medicines management committees, our teams have a direct influence in the safe prescribing agenda.

This has resulted in programmes of work to reduce the amount of prescribing of drugs with a high propensity for recreational use such as pregabalin and gabapentin ensuring their use is in line with the National Prisons Pain Formulary recommendations.

Providers of healthcare and substance misuse services have fed back how much they value the input of the team.