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International Award for Health and Prison Service Partnership

A County Durham prison project supported by Macmillan Cancer Support has won a prestigious international award.

The project aims to ensure that prisoners with serious incurable illnesses receive appropriate end of life care within the prison setting. 

Led by Gill Scott, Macmillan Prison Project lead for end of life care, who works for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, the project has been running since July 2010.
The project scooped first place in the 'Development Award' category at the International Journal of Palliative Nursing awards at the end of March. The awards celebrate the outstanding work carried out by palliative nurses worldwide.

The project team - Gill Scott, prison service 'Palliative Care Champions', nurses Joanne Jacques, Nicola Carr, Gill Flinn, Palliative Care Champion Prison Governor Bob Gibson and Macmillan Prison Practice Development Nurse Kay McAlinden, who succeeded Sam Johnston in this role, - attended the awards ceremony at the Landmark Hotel in London to collect their award after beating off competition from around the world.
Gill Scott said: "I am very happy that the project has been recognised in this way - it is a tribute to the team's commitment and demonstrates the value of a collaborative approach to developing solutions to complex problems-using the expertise of discipline staff, prison nurses, chaplains, family liaison officers, commissioners, and specialist palliative care services, as well as input from the prisoners themselves.
"Increasingly prisons are coping with an ageing population of prisoners whose health may already be poor.  Many prisoners will require end of life care in prison, and others will need treatment and palliative care for their illnesses during their sentence.  Being in a complex environment like prison with a life threatening illness can be extremely challenging for the prisoner, the prisoner's family and staff providing care. It is important we work together to ensure the delivery of equitable dignified care."
The project has resulted in the development of a service improvement tool in the form of standards to guide the organisation and delivery of care in prison. They reflect national standards for end of life care as well as recommendations from the prison ombudsman.
The team is also developing a toolkit to support the standards and provide education in end of life care for prison health and discipline staff.  They have developed prison specific information for prisoners and their families, which includes a DVD based on questions and concerns of prisoners and their families.
The project is supported by Macmillan Cancer Support, North East Strategic Health Authority, North East Offender Health Commissioning unit, as well as by County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

Published: 15 April 2011

'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly, efficiently and professionally with full explanations and compassion from all staff involved'.

Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital