Key documents and resources

The following documents cover key policies and procedures for the work of Health and Justice.

Service specifications for primary (medical and nursing) and dental care provision in prisons and immigration removal centres in England

These revised service specifications set out a modular approach to primary and dental care provision in prisons and immigration removal centres in England.  They set out areas of focus that nationally, providers are expected to prioritise and the outcomes they are expected to achieve, whilst enabling regional commissioners to tailor the specifications to the needs of the detained population.

Information sharing protocol across secure and detained settings

The Information sharing protocol across secure and detained settings is a national information sharing protocol agreement for organisations working across the health and justice estate to regulate the sharing of specific Personal Sensitive Data (PSD as defined in the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation 2018). It provides a framework for assuring the safeguarding of PSD by all parties and includes guidance on the treatment of individual patients by multiple providers across the health and secure sectors.

Quality Assurance and Improvement Framework: Health and Justice and Sexual Assault Referral Centres

The Quality Assurance and Improvement Framework: Health and Justice and Sexual Assault Referral Centres provides an outline and detail for quality assuring health and justice services.  This includes information on the quality assurance responsibilities of commissioners and stakeholders and the processes for commissioning high quality care in the secure and detained estate. It is designed to underpin the delivery of NHS England’s responsibilities and duty in respect of quality, as stated in the Health and Social Care Act (2012) and is integrated with the wider NHS England quality assurance activities.

Registration of individuals with a community GP prior to them leaving the secure residential estate

The NHS England Standard GMS Contract 2017/18 (page 64) sets out information for GPs on registering individuals prior to their release from the secure residential estate (such as prisons, immigration removal centres, young offender institutions and secure training centres).

In addition to improving the receipt of patient information, this is intended to help these individuals maintain continuity of care, avoid unplanned emergency admissions to hospital, and support their rehabilitation. Such individuals can also be initially reluctant to register with their GP practice post-release.

To support with registering patients prior to their release, practices are asked to update their procedures and follow this improved process by autumn 2019.  This flow chart provides further information on how the registration of this patient group works.  For further information, please email

Strategic direction for health services in the justice system: 2016 –2020

This strategic document outlines how health and care services, in all settings of the criminal justice system (be that pre-custody, custody, secure and detained or post custody), need to evolve between now and 2020. It sets out the seven strategic priorities that we in NHS England will focus on to reduce the health inequalities experienced.

The target audience is Health and Justice Leads, Liaison and Diversion Teams, Lived Experience Teams, Ministry of Justice, National Offender Management Service, Youth Justice Board and the Home Office.

National Partnership Agreement for Prison Healthcare in England 2018-2021

This document sets out the partnership agreement between the Ministry of Justice, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, Public Health England, the Department of Health & Social Care, and NHS England. It sets out the basis of a shared understanding of, and commitment to, the way in which the partners will work together to collectively drive improvements to the commissioning and delivery of healthcare in prisons in England.

National Partnership Agreement between NHS England, Home Office Immigration Enforcement and Public Health England (2018-21)

This sets out the shared strategic intent and joint commitment to work together for the purposes of setting out shared strategic intentions, joint corporate commitments and mutually agreed developmental priorities for NHS England, Public Health England and Home Office Immigration Enforcement. The agreement sets out that these organisations will work together to commission and deliver healthcare services in Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) across England. An updated version of this document is being drafted in 2017.

Children and Young People Secure Estate National Partnership Agreement (2018-2021)

The new Children and Young People Secure Estate National Partnership Agreement for 2018-2021 has been published to enable a more fully integrated approach to the commissioning and delivery of excellent health services for children and young people within the secure estate in England. This replaces the original partnership agreement between NHS England, the Youth Justice Board and Public Health England that was set up in 2013.

The new Partnership Agreement has been expanded and strengthened to a group of six organisations, who have a key role to play in ensuring high quality outcomes based health services for this group of children and young people. These are:

  • Department for Education
  • Department of Health and Social Care
  • Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service – Youth Custody Service
  • Ministry of Justice
  • NHS England
  • Public Health England.

Health and Justice Commissioning Intentions 2017/18

This outlines the priorities for the commissioning of services in secure and detained settings in England. It also set out priorities for liaison and diversion services, sexual assault referral centres and major national programmes (such as, smoke free prisons, the Health and Justice Information System, children and young people (CYP) mental health transformation work stream and substance misuse services).

The target audience is England Regional Directors, NHS England Directors of Commissioning Operations, Health and justice commissioners; providers of healthcare services in secure and detained settings; providers of sexual assault referral centres; providers of liaison and diversion services; National Offender Management Service; Ministry of Justice; prison governors; Home Office; Department of Health; Public Health England.

Service Specification for Immigration Removal Centre Mental Health Services (2017)

This service specification sets out the Commissioner’s requirements for a mental health and learning disability service for those people detained in Immigration Removal Centre establishments. This revised specification also reflects the recommendations found in The Shaw Report (2016).

Improving Health and Wellbeing services for children placed in the Children and Young People’s Secure Estate (2015-16)

This is a National Partnership Agreement (document now available on our archived website) between NHS England, Youth Justice Board and Public Health England. It sets out the shared strategic intent and joint commitment for the three respective organisations to work together for the purposes of commissioning and delivering healthcare services across the Children and Young People’s Secure Estate in England.

Clinical Reviewers – guidance and supporting documents

The Health and Justice national team, working with regional commissioning teams, has developed guidance documents on the process of engaging clinical reviewers to support death in custody investigations for the Prison and Probation Ombudsman (PPO), as well as a companion document with guidance on how to conduct a clinical review. These guidance documents are intended to provide clarity, promote consistency and support compliance with NHS England policies and procedures across the commissioning regions.

The PPO is appointed by the Secretary of State for Justice and is remitted to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths in prison, Immigration Removal Centres, approved premises and courts. The Secretary of State for Health has agreed that NHS England will take the lead responsibility for arranging an independent investigation of the clinical care provided to inform a PPO investigation and subsequent Coroner’s Inquest.

Guidelines for the provision of Clinical Reviewers to support Health and Justice deaths in custody investigations provides NHS England regional Health and Justice commissioning teams with guidance to ensure compliance with Standing Financial Instructions, procurement processes, good governance and assurance of clinical reviewers. The document encompasses the process by which commissioning teams should procure, commission, appoint and engage with clinical reviewers.

The companion document Guidelines for Health and Justice Clinical Reviewers provides NHS England Health and Justice commissioning teams and clinical reviewers with national operating procedures and guidelines for the provision of clinical review reports to the PPO.

Useful resources

Below is a list of useful documents and resources for commissioners and providers.

Safer use of mental health medicines (2017)

This document provides clarification on the prescribing responsibility for initiating, continuing, reviewing or repeat prescribing of mental health medicines by specialist mental health prescribers.

Framework for patient and public participation in Health and Justice commissioning (2017)

This is a framework for patient and public participation in Health and Justice. It is designed as a framework to strengthen patient and public participation in health and justice commissioning.

The target audience is NHS England Regional Directors, NHS England Directors of Commissioning Operations.

Health and Wellbeing Needs Assessment (HNA) Programme – Immigration Removal Centres and Residential Short Term Holding Facilities

This national summary report, commissioned by the Home Office and supported by NHS England, aims to provide a national baseline for both organisations to inform future service commissioning for healthcare in Immigration Removal Centres.

The target audience is Medical Directors, Directors of PH, Directors of Nursing, NHS England Regional Directors, NHS England Directors of Commissioning Operations, All NHS England employees.

Minimum Offer for Stop Smoking Services and Support in Custody

This document defines standards for training, interventions and pharmacological support for smoking cessation to be adhered to by ‘stop smoking services’ in all prisons. It supports the work programme to reduce levels of smoking in prisons and is aimed at standardising the approach and quality of smoking cessation services delivered in prisons.

Strategic direction for sexual assault and abuse services

This strategic document outlines how services for victims and survivors of sexual assault and abuse, in all settings of the health and care system, need to evolve between now and 2023. It sets out six core priorities that NHS England will focus on to reduce inequalities experienced.

Equal Access, Equal Care: Guidance for Prison Healthcare Staff treating Patients with Learning Disabilities

This document provides guidance on applying community-based recommendations and standards for the healthcare of people with a learning disability to a prison setting.

The target audience is Prison health care staff, Regional Health and Justice Commissioners and related roles.

Liaison and Diversion

There are several key Liaison and Diversion documents, including the Service Specification and Operating Model, as well practitioner guidance and other useful resources that you can access via the Liaison and Diversion resources page.

These pages are aimed at Liaison and Diversion stakeholders, including commissioners and providers.

The Clinical Reference Group

The Clinical Reference Group have been involved in produced several documents which can be accessed via their page. This includes information on pain management (including the Prison Pain Formulary), drug dependence, personality disorder and handling Tramadol.

The target audience is prison health commissioners and providers.

NHS England also publishes interim commissioning policies for specific services as part of its role as a direct commissioner for non-specialised services.