Health care management ‘poor’ for inmates at Wayland Prison, near Watton

Staff shortages at Wayland Prison have had a “detrimental effect” on the welfare of prisoners, and healthcare management at the site is “poor”, a report has revealed.

The document was written by Nick Hardwick following an announced inspection by HM Chief Inspectorate of Prisons, which took place between June 6 and June 10 this year.

In his report, Mr Hardwick said: “Overall, our inspection found a prison settling down after a period of considerable change and, in most areas, producing some good outcomes for prisoners.

“There were, however, some major exceptions to this generally positive picture and these need to be addressed as a matter of urgency...There were wider problems with the provision of health services in the prison. Strategic management of healthcare was poor and partnership arrangements were weak. Staff shortages had a detrimental effect on the care of prisoners and chaotic arrangements for the administration of medication had a negative impact on the regime of the prison as a whole.”

But he added that most prisoners at Wayland were safe and lived in decent conditions, could take part in a range of good quality work, education and training activities and received effective help with their resettlement needs.

Mr Hardwick said: “These good arrangements were put at risk by poor healthcare, the very poorly implemented introduction of an opiate dose reduction regime and weak planning of prisoners’ sentences to reduce the risk that they would reoffend on release.

“These weaknesses need to be quickly addressed if the prison is to continue its progress and avoid slipping back.”

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He added the sudden introduction of the opiate dose reduction regime was a cause of “considerable concern” because there had been little consultation with prisoners and professionals.

The category C male training prison holds just over 1,000 prisoners and the last inspection – which was unannounced – took place between April 6 and April 8 in 2009.

Mr Hardwick described the site as “generally safe” and arrangements for a prisoner’s first few days were “adequate”, but he added that they had long waits with little to do in reception before being moved to first night cells, which had broken furniture and graffiti.

At the time of the inspection, the extent of bullying at the prison was not high and investigations into these incidents were thorough.

The report said there were “imaginative efforts” to involve families in anti-bullying work and the use of force was low.

It added: “Care for prisoners at risk of suicide and self-harm was good.”

An inquest has been opened and adjourned into the death of an inmate at HMP Wayland, near Watton.

Davin Short, 46, was found unresponsive in his bed on October 4, Thursday’s Norwich inquest heard.

Prison officers carried out CPR and an ambulance was called but Mr Short was pronounced dead at the scene. Deputy assistant coroner for Norfolk, Yvonne Blake, adjourned the inquest to a date to be fixed.