In 2018, Health Consumers Queensland was engaged by Queensland Health to provide a consumer perspective on the provision of health services in prisons. In 2021, the Queensland Health Office for Prisoner Health and Wellbeing engaged HCQ again to revisit the same seven correctional centres to hear from prisoners in secure, mainstream and protection to learn what has changed and what needs to be improved in relation to their health care.

Anne Curtis, HCQ’s Engagement Consultant – Specific Projects who undertakes this work and is a member of the Queensland Prisoner Health and Wellbeing Leadership Group said, “Prisoners are the end-users of a health service provided to meet their health needs. They are the ‘patient’, the ‘consumer’.  And as any other patient or consumer in community they have the same rights to health care services, and to having their voices heard and being engaged in regard to how those services are designed and delivered.”

In all, 112 prisoners were consulted with six key themes emerging relating to service improvements and a request for an increased focus on preventative healthcare services. These included:

  • Medication management
  • Dental access and treatment options
  • Access and response to health requests
  • Communication and culture
  • Access to mental health and treatment options
  • COVID-19 and flu vaccinations

The Office for Prisoner Health and Wellbeing has produced an infographic which will be provided to prisoners to confirm that they have been heard and to inform them of what actions will be taken in response to their feedback.

As part of this project work, Anne has been facilitating joint workshops for Queensland Health prison staff and Queensland Corrective Services staff on prisoner healthcare rights and consumer engagement. The workshops are also an opportunity for Anne to inform staff about what came out of the consultation.