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Hepatitis C virus screening and treatment in Irish prisons from a governor and prison officer perspective - A qualitative exploration

Crowley, D, van Hout, MC, Murphy, C, Kelly, E, Lambert, JS and Cullen, W (2018) Hepatitis C virus screening and treatment in Irish prisons from a governor and prison officer perspective - A qualitative exploration. Health and Justice, 6 (23). ISSN 2194-7899

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Abstract

Background: Prisons are a key location to access Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infected people who inject drugs (PWID). Prison health care structures are complex and optimising health care delivery to this high need, marginalised and underserved population remains challenging. Despite international guidelines recommending that prisons are a priority location for HCV screening and treatment levels of prisoner engagement in HCV care remain low. Competing priorities between security and healthcare is a key feature of prison health care. A collaborative approach to health care delivery in prisons can maximise the benefits for prisoners, staff and the wider community. Aim: To identify the barriers and enablers to HCV screening and treatment in Irish prisons and inform the implementation of a HCV screening program within the Irish Prison Services (IPS). Methods: Qualitative study using focus group methodology underpinned by grounded theory. Results: The following themes emerged from the analysis: priority of safety and security, staffing and resources, concerns about personal risk, lack of knowledge, concerns around confidentiality, prisoners' fear of treatment and stigma, timing of screening, use of peer workers, in-reach hepatology and fibroscanning services. The primary role of prison security is to ensure the safety of staff and prisoners with a secondary but important supporting role in health care delivery. Maintaining adequate staffing levels and the provision of training and education were seen as priorities and impacted on prison officers' fear for personal safety and risk of HCV transmission. Opt-out screening and peer support workers had high levels of support among participants. Conclusion: Upscaling HCV management in prisons requires an in-depth understanding of all barriers and facilitators to HCV screening and treatment. Engaging prison officers in the planning and delivery of health care initiatives is a key strategy to optimising the public health opportunity that prisons provides. © 2018 The Author(s).

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine > RA0440 Study and Teaching. Research
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: BMC (Part of Springer Nature)
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2019 10:55
Last Modified: 14 May 2019 14:30
DOI or Identification number: 10.1186/s40352-018-0081-6
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9894

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