A health needs assessment in Northumberland Prisons
We were commissioned to conduct a health needs assessment across two prisons in Northumberland. The aim was to gather information that enables the prisons to better plan, negotiate or change services, to improve the health of the prison populations, and to establish a baseline of current services and health.
Working closely with prison health staff within each institution we visited both sites in order to build relationships and clarify expectations. This was crucial to developing ownership of the needs assessment and in ensuring quality insight.
We used three distinct forms of research; epidemiological needs assessment, corporate needs assessment and comparative needs assessment.
The epidemiological needs assessment involved effectiveness reviews of services and identifying disparities between needs and service provision. This was achieved through a literature review, service data analysis and a random analysis of inmates’ medical records.
The corporate needs assessment used a range of research methods, including focus groups, interviews and questionnaires, to gather the perceived needs of relevant stakeholders such as prison inmates, prison staff and health staff. The comparative needs assessment identified and compared current practice elsewhere.
Our final report, with executive summary, was instrumental in securing additional work across a further eight prison establishments across the country.