An adequate number of sufficiently trained health care staff must be allocated to each prison. They should be selected for their professional competencies and personal integrity. The pay and benefits should be equivalent to health staff working in the community so as to attract appropriate personnel. In general the health staff allocated to the prisons should include, as a minimum, General practitioners and Nursing staff. Health staff must be available at all times of the day or night in order to respond to medical emergencies as well as other health issues. Other staff such as psychiatrists and psychologists, dentists, physiotherapists etc. should either be based in, or regularly visit the prison, depending on the size of the prison population.
The actual numbers and specialisation of health staff will depend upon the total population and general profile of the detainees in the specific place of detention. For example, where there is a high turnover of detainees with drug or alcohol dependency a specialist in drug rehabilitation/drug substitution therapy may be warranted. A sufficient number of female health staff must be allocated to prisons, especially those in which women are detained.
Detainees should have access to medical investigations and care that is not available in the prison. This is usually through the referral of the detainee to the local clinic or hospital, although in some settings hospital Specialists may be able to visit the place of detention on a regular basis. This may assist the prison administration in terms of reducing the demand for transport and security to outside health facilities.
Detainees, even those with previous training in health care, should not carry out any duties in the prison health care service. This risks breaches in medical confidentiality and in trust of the independence of the health care service.