Qual-P Summary

Qual-P is the short name for the research project “Improving the quality of healthcare for prisoners: a mixed methods study”. Below is a summary of the study written in plain English. For more technical details about the research please see the detailed plan (protocol).


People with experience of prison often have poor health and more long-term illness, disability and death compared to people who have not been in prison. There are many possible reasons for these differences. Researchers do not know enough about how good the healthcare that people receive in prison is. We are a group of experienced researchers with different backgrounds and skills and we hope to do this project with help from people who have been in prison. We hope that the project will help to improve the quality of healthcare that prisoners receive.

The project will have four parts:

We will find out about the health conditions that affect prisoners and how we can measure the quality of healthcare services for these conditions. We will do this by asking men and women who have been in prison, prison healthcare workers (like GPs, nurses, pharmacists, physios and dentists), prison officers and managers.

We will ask the healthcare professionals to tell us what they think is good and bad about prison healthcare and how it could be improved. We will ask men and women with experience of prison about any healthcare they had in prison and how it could be improved.

We will measure the quality of healthcare services and try to understand whether healthcare is better for some prisoners or health conditions compared to others. We will do this by looking at patterns across thousands of prisoners’ medical records. The medical records will not contain names so we will not know which prisoners they belong to.

We will use what we find out in parts 1, 2 and 3 to work out how to improve the quality of prison healthcare. Healthcare professionals, people with experience of prison, prison officers and managers will help us with this.

At the end of the project we will know what is good and bad about current prison healthcare, how to measure its quality and how to make things better. We will also be able to suggest practical approaches to help improve the quality of healthcare for prisoners.

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