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Provision of health and social care in the adult prison estate

Receiving evidence

The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee is holding an inquiry into health and social care provision in Welsh prisons.

While prisons are not devolved, the healthcare system is, and the Welsh Government has a clear set of responsibilities in providing health and social care services to prisoners held in Wales. The Committee’s inquiry will focus on Welsh prisoners’ experiences of health and social care services in the adult prison estate.


The overall responsibility for the development of prison healthcare in the public sector prisons in Wales rests with the Welsh Government. Accountability for the planning of health services for prisoners is held by NHS Wales, but this responsibility can only be exercised in partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). At a local level, Prison Health Partnership Boards, jointly chaired by Local Health Boards and the Governors of the prisons, have responsibility for the governance of prison health services.

The exception is for HMP Parc. Primary healthcare services are funded and commissioned via the Ministry of Justice under a private contract with G4S. NHS Wales is responsible for the commissioning of secondary/tertiary care services.

The Welsh prison estate

The prisoner population in Wales is male only and was 4,291 at the end of April 2018.  Prisoners are held across five sites in South Wales and at HMP Berwyn in North Wales; each prison having a different profile, function and security category. There are no female prisons in Wales. The nearest female establishments are HMP Eastwood Park in Gloucestershire and HMP Styal in Cheshire. HMP Parc is mainly an adult prison, though it also has a Young Offenders Institution (YOI) where most of the 18-24 year old prisoners in Wales are held.  The Health Board in which the prison is located is responsible for providing healthcare services. The relevant Health Boards are: 

  • Aneurin Bevan Health Board – HM Prisons Usk & Prescoed
  • Monmouthshire Cardiff & Vale University Health Board – HM Prison Cardiff
  • Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board – HM Prison Swansea
  • Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – HM Prison Berwyn

Each prison has its own healthcare facilities.  GPs, nurses and healthcare assistants work on site in each prison.

Evidence sessions


Evidence session

Date, Agenda and Minutes



1. Dr Robert Jones

Dr Robert Jones, Wales Governance Centre, Cardiff University

27 March 2019

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2. Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, and Social Care Wales

Rhys Jones, Head of Escalation and Enforcement, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales

Tania Osborne, Head of Health and Social Care Inspection, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons

Gillian Baranski, Chief Inspector, Care Inspectorate Wales

03 October 2019

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Business type: Committee Inquiry

Reason considered: Assembly Business;

Status: For consideration

First published: 20/02/2019

Decision due: Meeting Date by Health, Social Care and Sport Committee




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