Prison Services

Prison Peer Service

Our Prison Peer Services are divided into 2 partnership projects:

We have been delivering peer programmes in prisons since 2017 and started with a pilot programme with two staff members working across the 8 London prisons. This very quickly expanded across the national prison estate and we now have a staff team of 17, led by Sean Cox, our Director of Prison Services.
 
Why prisons?

If we are to eliminate hepatitis C by 2025, it is essential we focus on the prison estate. This is because:

    • Around 90% of hep C cases in the UK can be attributed to illicit injecting drug use. There is a strong association between recent injecting drug use and acquisitive crime with 40% of people in prison believed to have injected drugs prior to arrest.
    • The prevalence of hep C in prisons is at approximately 6%, compared to 0.7% in the community in the adult population. There is an even higher prevalence in the female prison estate, approximately 15-20%.

Since the NHS England Elimination Deal went live in July 2019 our work with prisons has become more targeted, specifically whole prison testing with the aim to “micro-eliminate” across the prison estate.
 
The premise behind our model is that all prisons are mandated to deliver a BBV opt-out testing programme for all new arrivals at individual prisons – i.e that everyone entering prison is offered a hep C, hep B and HIV test.
 
To achieve elimination within an individual prison there are several key factors:

    1. Every person is offered a test upon arrival at the prison, with 95% minimum being tested.
    2. A minimum of 90% positive patients are commenced on treatment.
    3. Prisons have regular, quarterly reviews of uptake, reception screening and need for assertive out reach.
    4. A whole prison testing programme is delivered.

For further information or support, Sean can be contacted at sean.cox@hepctrust.org.uk