Optimising Medicines in Secure Environments

Professional standard

The NHS England Immigration Removal Centres Medicine Improvement Programme Working Group, with the Health and Justice Sector have reviewed the RPS Hospital Standards, alongside recommendations in the Shaw Review, and developed new professional standards for optimising medicines for people in secure environments, including immigration removal centres, prisons and other places of residential detention.

The standards support the commissioning and development of safe, quality services that put patients and their needs first.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society are hosting and have published the standards. They can be used by anyone who has a role in optimising and  handling medicines (for example pharmacy teams, nursing teams, etc) working in or with the secure environment sector in England, but may also be a useful reference in Wales and Scotland.

The standards have been published in the following two editions:

They encourage a multidisciplinary approach between the pharmacy, healthcare and custodial workforce that ensures medicines optimisation is “everybody’s business”. In health and justice settings, medicines optimisation is often led by the pharmacy team, but medicines are prescribed and handled by a variety of professional and support staff.

Correction on 17/05/17

Correction to statement 11.4 in the Professional standards for optimising medicines for people in secure environments edition 1 Immigration removal centres and edition 2 prisons, young offender institutions and secure training centres. 

Statement 11.4 in both editions has been corrected to “People have in possession medicines supplied to them by a competent member of healthcare or pharmacy staff who has access to a registered healthcare professional within the site at the time the supply is made.”

Please contact our professional support service if you would like to discuss the correction further.

Supporting statements

Bruce Warner, Deputy Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, NHS England

"Despite the fact that secure environments present unique challenges when it comes to optimising medicines, people in these environments have every right to enjoy the same quality of service as the general population. These standards will go a long way towards achieving that aim, and demonstrate what can be achieved when commissioners and professional bodies work together for the benefit of all their patients, despite the setting they are being cared for in."

Clare Checksfield, Director, Detention and Escorting Services Home Office

"I welcome the publication of the Standards for Optimising Medicines as this is an important part of our commitment to providing appropriate care for immigration detainees. The standards will help us to assist detainees to stay healthy and to better manage their own medication."
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published a Quality Standard [QS 156] on  physical health of people in prisons. It covers assessing, diagnosing and managing physical health problems of adults aged 18 years and older in prisons or young offender institutes. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement.