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Treat prisoners via videolink, says MP

26 January 2011

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Medical consultations should be given to prisoners via videolink to cut costs and discourage them from absconding, an MP has said.

Conservative backbencher Philip Davies said a system to allow doctors to treat patients via videolink had already been developed by a technology firm in his Shipley constituency.

Speaking in the House of Commons, he suggested the practice should be used by more primary care trusts (PCTs).

He asked health minister Paul Burstow: “Could I ask you to look at this particular scheme which has been rolled out in a number of prisons, see the cost benefits which have been brought by it and also the lack of a risk of absconsion from prisons, and encourage other PCTs around the country to introduce this system in their prisons?”

Mr Burstow said PCTs and prison authorities already had the power to use videolink consultations, although their success had not yet been assessed by the Government.

He added: “As part of a wider programme of a demonstrator project looking at tele-medicine and tele-care, we are looking at how we can see the roll-out of such approaches.

“But in regards of the specific case of your trust, I would be happy to look further at those details and the benefits that have arisen.”

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