Health and Social Care in Prisons

Project update: September 2020

A report is being drafted for the Scottish Government Workstream for Integrated Health and Social Care in Prisons. The report results from more than 2 years of intensive exploration of the rationale for and the challenges of delivering integrated health, social work and social care services and support in Scottish prisons. Seven individual prison sites across five HSCPs undertook tests of change for up to six months, working with the Scottish Prison Service, Scottish Government, Social Work Scotland, IJBs and other stakeholders to provide evidence and learn about what is required for the future.

The report will recognise the positive work already happening in our prisons and HSCPs that supports people in prison and those liberated. It will also identify key areas where there are opportunities to improve and strengthen the multi-disciplinary approaches that need to be able to respond to the complex needs of many people in our prisons; to support them to lead positive lives within the prison and then to move on, to seek employment, support their families and contribute positively to their communities. Once approved by the Workstream (expected towards the end of 2020), we shall post the report here.

Alison Bavidge, the Development Manager for this project, leaves Social Work Scotland as of 30 September 2020. If you want to talk to someone within SWS about this project, please contact and someone will direct your query.

Otherwise, you can find Alison in her new role as National Director at the Scottish Association of Social Workers (

We have an ageing prison population and they have health care, personal care and support needs just as the rest of the population do. Providing care and support in a prison setting has a number of challenges and as the population who need care and support grows and grows older, we need to look at better ways of providing it to them.

This project is funded by the Scottish Government and has a number of key outputs:

  • Phase 1: Analysis and review of current arrangements: by June 2018

The University of Dundee was commissioned to carry out this phase which took stock of existing arrangements for delivering social care in Scottish prisons in order to provide a clear basis for developing new approaches. The outcome was a report for the Health and Social Care Integration Workstream of the Scottish Government’s Health and Social Care in Prisons Programme Board.

Read the Government’s response to this report

  • Phase 2: Developing models: by March 2019

Informed by the research, this second phase is about developing a new approach to delivering health and social care and support in prisons. It will consider suggestions for roles and responsibilities, commissioning and procurement models and estimate costs.   

  • Phase 3: Testing models: by March 2020

The final phase will be about redesigning and testing new models of health and social care integration in one or more prisons.