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Dental care at Teesside prison branded ‘unacceptable’ in annual report

Inspectors have told a Teesside prison to improve after dental failures. In Holme House’s annual report, inspectors from the Independent Monitoring Boards (IMBs) said the wait time to see a dentist was ‘unacceptable’, with only emergencies, for the most part, attracting attention.

HMP Holme House is a Category C training and resettlement prison, holding convicted adult male prisoners (aged 21 and over) and a small number of young adult males (aged 18-21). It is part of the Tees and Wear Prison Group, along with HMP Durham, HMP Kirklevington Grange and HMP/YOIDeerbolt. The majority of prisoners are from the region, with a small number from further afield.

In the new report, inspectors call for improvements in health care, the report states: “It is imperative that dental services be improved. He describes how in 2019 inspectors told the prison it was providing poor dental service with waiting lists for a consultation of up to 21 weeks, an eight-week wait for ongoing treatment and education to oral health and nine weeks for dental therapy.

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But nearly two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have left this area of ​​inmate care “significantly worse”, according to the report. Inspectors said the situation at Stockton Prison cannot be compared to services at the community or neighboring prison, HMP Kirklevington Grange, or a similar prison, HMP Northumberland.

In a message to the Prison Service, inspectors said: ‘We are concerned that the Prison Service has not acted quickly in relation to poor dental services in the prison.

However, inspectors praised the prison after seeing a reduction in violence from September 2020 and said that in general health services improved during the year with the implementation place of the community model (based on blocks of houses). Inspectors said waiting lists to see a GP had been reduced as some consultations took place over the phone and nurses based in house blocks carried out the triage.

It was also noted that despite staff absences and the constraints imposed by Covid-19, the team showed ingenuity to allow much of their work to continue. The inspectors commended the team for their diligence and commitment.

In a message to the minister, the inspectors said: “We are pleased with the improvements made to the prison over the year. There remain funds needed to ensure a reasonable level of decency in the cells. We do, however, ask the minister to take action in relation to dental services at HMP Holmes House.”

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