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Tuesday, October 5, 1999 Published at 17:31 GMT 18:31 UK


Prison calls in Claire Rayner

Authorities want better health care at Holloway prison

Europe's largest women's prison has recruited agony aunt and health campaigner Claire Rayner to help improve healthcare on site, the Prison Service has confirmed.

Miss Rayner, the chairman of the Patient's Association and a former nurse, will chair an advisory panel to improve standards at Holloway Prison.

The panel will also include prominent lawyer Helena Kennedy and leading medics from outside the prison system.

David Lancaster, the prison governor, is keen to improve the care and treatment of the 500 women prisoners held at the north London jail.

Boateng visited

[ image: Claire Rayner will advise on how to boost healthcare]
Claire Rayner will advise on how to boost healthcare
His initiative was announced on the day that Prisons Minister Paul Boateng visited the jail, and comes just a day after an emergency package of measures to ease a healthcare crisis at Brixton prison.

Some 75% of Holloway's inmates arrive with either psychiatric or drug-related problems, or both, putting intense pressure on detoxification facilities and psychiatric care.

Mr Boateng warned that failing to address health issues stored up problems for the women on release, and was a missed opportunity to tackle re-offending.

A spokeswoman for the Prison Service said the aim of the advisory board was to pool the expertise and experiences of people from outside and within the prison system in a bid to bring standards of healthcare up to the same level as those available in the community.

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