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HMP Norwich achieves GSF Accreditation

HMP Norwich achieved a first at September’s conference, becoming the first prison to become GSF accredited.

Staff from L-Wing, a 15-bed unit for older people with extra care and palliative care needs, led by Lead Nurse Scott Ralph were presented with the GSF Quality Hallmark Award by Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care.

To be accredited, HMP Norwich, like all the 52 care homes receiving their awards, achieved 20 quality standards, ranging from leadership and support to dignity and respect. Assessors then visited the prison to witness the care being delivered by Virgin Care staff, on L-wing, a 15-bed unit for older people with extra care and palliative care needs. And, like with the care homes, the nursing team had to submit a portfolio of evidence.

Scott said: “For us, the fact that we are the first prison to be recognised by the GSF makes us proud because it demonstrates that no matter the environment, healthcare services can provide a good death and that’s a credit to our nursing team.

“Yes, it’s a prison environment but we do what we can to fulfil prisoners’ wishes while of course remembering the environment within which we work.”

The prisoners are given the opportunity to express their preferences in an advance care plan and some might be surprised by their choice of place of care. Most refuse the offer of compassionate release which could see them sent home or somewhere else to die. Scott Ralph says: “That’s because they know the care here is second to none and they regard this as their home.”

Most of the team have a community nursing background and have used that experience to draw on when looking at ways to make the care for these prisoners as good as it possibly can be. With the help of the GSF tools they now are justifiably confident about identifying people who are approaching the end of life at the earliest possible opportunity and providing them with care planned according to their wishes.

Claire Henry said: “It has often been said that how a society cares for its dying is a litmus test of its healthcare generally. It is very important that quality care is available to everyone as they approach the end of life, regardless of who and where they are. Staff at HMP Norwich Prison should be congratulated for their commitment and dedication and are an example to all providers of what can achieved in every setting.”

Scott Ralph and the team at HMP Norwich are now working with colleagues in the prison cluster where Virgin Care provides healthcare services on behalf of NHS England, to help them achieve GSF accreditation.

Scott Ralph and the Team form HMP Norwich

Dec 16

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