IPC in non-acute settings, 4 July 2019


IPC and the management of communicable disease in prisons and places of detention

With most prisons constructed to maximise public safety, not to minimize the transmission of disease, the nature of the environment within prisons and places of detention (PPD) varies widely with regards to their age, design, construction and healthcare facilities. Additionally the operational integrity with regard to cell-sharing, staffing levels and access to healthcare services presents a challenge in implementing infection prevention and control precautions and the prevention and management of communicable diseases.

In recent years there has been a growing awareness that in comparison to the broader population, people in prisons and other PPD face significant health inequalities, including multiple and complex health and social care needs. And these issues can be compounded by coexisting problems such as a higher prevalence of infectious diseases, poorer vaccine coverage, a higher prevalence of long-term conditions and higher rates of substance misuse and tobacco consumption.

Although implementing IPC in prisons and PPDs can be challenging, opportunities also exist to have an impact on the health of persons in prison, staff and the communities in which most prisoners will return to.

Susanne Howes, Health and Justice Public Health Specialist, Public Health England East Midlands