Prison nurses improve inmates' healthcare

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 07/05/2014
nurses
NICOLE JOHNSTONE/ Fairfax NZ

'FANTASTIC WORK': Invercargill Prison nurses Anna Calvert, Margaret Black, Joanne Purdue and Averill Glew received awards for their work towards the prison gaining the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners Cornerstone Accreditation.

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They may be locked up but they are healthy inside and out.

Invercargill Prison gained its Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners' Cornerstone Accreditation this week after months of work towards the recognition.

Prison nurses have been working towards the accreditation since last year and were finally put to the test in November, being signed off against more than 150 criteria and practices to gain the accreditation.

Yesterday, that hard work was acknowledged by prison manager Stuart Davie and Corrections Minister Anne Tolley.

"It has been recognised at the highest level by our minister," Davie said.

He praised the great work of the nurses, who faced some challenges in dealing with prisoners.

"You are fantastic."

Southern Regional Corrections manager Deb Alleyne said the accreditation meant the health practices inside the prison matched those outside the fence.

"Cornerstone accreditation allows us to benchmark the quality of our prison health practices against those in general practices outside the prison."

Alleyne said often prisoners came in having not worried about their health, unable to afford visits to a doctor, or simply did not care.

Providing them with high-quality healthcare helped them to not only improve their physical and mental health, but also pass that knowledge on to their families, she said.

"It's not about feeling sorry for the people, it's about giving help."

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