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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 15:10 GMT 16:10 UK
NHS fails prisoners, report says
Wayland Prison
NHS Trust denies failing prisoners at HMP Wayland
More than 700 prisoners were given inadequate mental health care by the NHS, an inspection has revealed.

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) criticised the Norfolk & Waveney Mental Health Trust for removing a specialist nurse from HMP Wayland in Watton.

Brenda Upton, chairman of Wayland IMB, said from January to June the NHS failed in its duty of care, but said the problem was now being addressed.

The trust admitted staffing problems but said urgent cases were attended.

But Mrs Upton said: "The NHS failed prisoners suffering any degree of mental illness.

Shortcomings addressed

"We found it distressing that, despite the best efforts of the governor and the board, this situation was not tackled with the speed and vigour that it deserved.

"However, we note that since the report was prepared, the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust has at last begun to address the existing shortcomings."

In a statement, the trust said: "We did not withdraw mental health nursing from HMP Wayland.

The prison is fortunate to have such a professional and dedicated team
Brenda Upton, chairman of Wayland IMB

"We have always provided a nursing service for prisoners whose needs were considered urgent, although the level of staffing for non-urgent cases has had to vary during 2007.

"Throughout this whole period, however, a forensic consultant psychiatrist has continued to hold regular fortnightly sessions at Wayland.

"The post, although currently vacant, is nonetheless being covered full time by an experienced member of nursing staff until a permanent replacement is recruited."

The report praised the governor, Michael Wood, and his staff, for preparing to open new accommodation blocks for 300 extra prisoners, workshops and other facilities.

"The prison is fortunate to have such a professional and dedicated team", said Mrs Upton.

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