The IPS Healthcare Standards include standards for the use of medicines and require the Irish Prison Service to provide, as minimum, pharmaceutical services that are efficient, cost effective, meet legal and professional requirements and reflect good professional practice.
Professional general pharmacy services are provided in all prisons on the basis of a contract with a local community pharmacy and both the technical (supply) and professional (pharmaceutical care) elements of pharmacy service provision are now provided as part of agreed contracts. This ensures that an up-to-date, patient centred pharmacy service which complies with all professional and ethical standards is provided to all prisons.
While ensuring that all prescriptions are now monitored and checked by a pharmacist, and dispensed on an individual patient-basis, the provision of professional pharmacy services also supports more effective through-care, as each prisoner’s dispensed medicines are available to be sent with him/her on transfer to another prison, thus ensuring continuity of essential treatment. Similarly, where appropriate, a prisoner’s dispensed medicines can be given to him/her on full or temporary release thereby supporting the continuity of necessary treatment until the prisoner can engage with the community healthcare services.
The provision of professional pharmacy services facilitates and supports the introduction of In-possession (I/P), i.e. whereby following a risk assessment, suitable prisoners are given a week’s supply of their dispensed medication. The prisoner signs a contract and then accepts full responsibility for the storage, management and self-administration of his /her medication and for compliance with their medication as prescribed. This has resulted in those prisoners taking greater responsibility for their healthcare, in line with community norms, to assist in their preparation for release and re-integration into society.
Where clinically appropriate, medicines are dispensed as generic brands, resulting in the more cost-effective use of medicines.