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Prisoners with serious mental health problems face urgent treatment delays

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Almost three-quarters of prisoners in England faced delays being transferred to a mental health unit, according to official Department of Health figures

Prisoners in England who need to spend time as an inpatient in a mental health unit are meant to be taken there within 14 days of doctors admitting them. But new official figures show that barely one in four of the prisoners who received such care last year were transferred within the supposed maximum two weeks.

Figures released by the Department of Health show that 412 prisoners were transferred to hospital from jails in England within 14 days during 2015-16, or 26.5% of the total. However, far more – 1,141 (73.5%) – had to endure delays of longer than that, health minister Nicola Blackwood confirmed.

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