Read Nacro’s research briefing looking at the barriers prison leavers, and other marginalised groups, face when accessing GP services and primary healthcare.
This research was conducted after Nacro service users our health and wellbeing services reported inability to access vital healthcare services in the community.
Why were they struggling?
Over 40% of GP services surveyed required photo ID and proof of address in order to register as a patient. Those leaving prison are less likely to have these documents than others. However, neither proof of ID nor proof of address are needed to register under NHS official guidance.
While prison’s have now started to give ID, many of those who leave prison are in unsettled accommodation, such as temporary accommodation, or are homeless. This means they would not have the proof of address which 66% of GP practices required upon registration as a new patient.
Why does healthcare access matter?
People in prison have higher health needs than the wider population, with a higher prevalence of infectious diseases, mental health issues and substance misuse issues.
A lack of health support can lead to further offending. If people coming out of prison are unable to access the support and medication that they need, they are more likely to fall back into old patterns of behaviour: for example, returning to depending on illegal substances and committing crimes to support those needs.
Nacro runs wellbeing support services which help people leaving prison access healthcare services, housing, mental health support and more. We see every day the impact of not having access to healthcare services has on those who have left prison.