Prisoner and ex-prisoner health: Improving access to primary care
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This article forms part of our 'Access' series for 2012, profiling organisations that provide primary healthcare to groups who are disadvantaged or have difficulty accessing mainstream services. The aim of this series is to describe the area of need, the innovative strategies that have been developed by specific organisations to address this need, and make recommendations to help GPs improve access to disadvantaged populations in their own communities. Prisoners have markedly elevated rates of mental illness, chronic disease, substance dependence and engagement in health risk behaviours. The prison setting provides a unique opportunity to address the physical and mental health needs of this disadvantaged group. However, any benefits gained by prisoners from contact with prison health services are often lost once they return to the community. This article outlines the health inequalities experienced by prisoners and ex-prisoners in Australia, describes the community health centre operating at the Alexander Maconochie Centre in Canberra, and provides practical suggestions for improving access to primary care for this population, both in custody and after return to the community.
Australian Family Physician
© 2012 Australian Family Physician. Reproduced with permission. Permission to reproduce must be sought from the publisher, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
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