Falling short: The Met’s healthcare of detainees in custody

Date published: 
27 January 2014

Our investigation into healthcare in custody found that the Metropolitan Police are struggling to provide adequate medical staffing to assess and treat detainees in their custody suites.

The Police and Crime Committee report Falling short: The Met’s healthcare of detainees in custody , calls for swift action to tackle the more than 60 per cent shortfall in nurses providing medical assessments and care for people held in police custody. As of November 2013 the Met had 78 nurses working in custody suites against a planned total of 198

In the current financial year (2013-14) more nurses have left the service than have been recruited. As of November 2013, 23 nurses left the service while 15 were recruited.

While the report welcomes plans to transfer commissioning of custody healthcare to the NHS by 2015, it makes a series of recommendations to address shortcomings in custody care in the short term including:

A new strategy for increasing the number of custody nurses and an independent review of the nature, content and appropriateness of their training

Establish a clear timetable for the transition of commissioning for custody healthcare to the NHS by 2015

The Met and MOPAC should provide a plan showing how the new Detention Command will be developed, consulted on, implemented and overseen.

MOPAC should demonstrate a clear process for making best use of information provided by Independent Custody Volunteers, including publishing a quarterly report of problems identified during visits and action taken as a result.

The Met should establish a formal consultative group to respond to the immediate concerns raised by Forensic Medical Examiners, and consult with them about current nurse training practices and any future changes to custody arrangements.

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