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Question

89. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the person who or body that carried out the inspections of hospital or medical areas within prisons in each of the years 2012 to 2016, inclusive, and to date in 2017; the frequency of these inspections; if she is satisfied that the standards are equivalent to HIQA standards for general hospitals or medical centres; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15850/17]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am advised by the Irish Prison Service, IPS, that the inspection of healthcare areas within prisons is not within the remit of the Health Information Quality Authority, HIQA. However, the Irish Prison Service has developed the Irish Prison Service healthcare standards which are the basis on which prison healthcare services are delivered to all persons in custody.
The Irish Prison Service has previously engaged an independent evaluator to complete an audit of healthcare provision in individual prison institutions. Four independent audits were undertaken in 2014, and found that healthcare provision was considered to be in compliance with the existing healthcare standards.
The Irish Prison Service is currently engaged with the Department of Health in relation to a fundamental review of healthcare in prisons and the provision of healthcare services in prisons generally. The terms of reference for this review have been drafted and are to be agreed by both Departments.