Health services in prison
Justice Health is a unit of the Department of Justice. It has assumed the health functions previously undertaken by Corrections Victoria’s Health Services Unit and the DHHS’ Prisoner Health Care Unit.
Justice Health is responsible for planning, coordinating and delivering health services to courts, police cells, and Victoria’s public and private prisons.
Each prison in Victoria offers a wide range of health care treatment, including podiatry, physiotherapy, The time and place at which a court or tribunal hears the parties argue their case and makes a decision. tests, diabetes education, asthma education, and immunisation programs. Services are provided at community standards. Prisoners are not eligible for Medicare while in prison. Each consultation is documented in a medical file, which is strictly confidential and only accessible to health staff. Justice Health has legal Lawful control over a person which prevents them leaving. A person under arrest is in police custody and is not free to go. A person in prison is serving a custodial sentence that keeps them confined to the prison grounds. of all prisoner health files in Victoria. A request to Justice Health for access to a prisoner’s health file should be made by A court order saying that a person must appear in court to give verbal evidence or provide particular documents. See also summons. or A formal document issued by a court which says someone must appear in court on the date stated in the document. See also service; writ. for production or by an application under the The right of any person to access documents held by government agencies, except documents excluded by legislation. A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. 1982 (Vic).
Some prisons have Aboriginal liaison officers who can assist with access to culturally appropriate services.
If a person enters prison while already on methadone or buprenorphine, they may continue to receive this therapy through the Opioid Substitution Therapy Program.
For information about the psychiatric care available in Victorian prisons, see ‘Prisons’ psychiatric facilities’, above.
Private medical practitioner
Under section 47(1)(f) of the Corrections Act, prisoners in Victoria have:
… the right to have access to reasonable medical care and treatment necessary for the preservation of health including, with the approval of the principal medical officer but at the prisoner’s own expense, a private registered medical practitioner physiotherapist or chiropractor chosen by the prisoner. (See ‘Prisoner’s rights’, above.)
‘Application to consult a private practitioner’ forms are available to prisoners. Applications must be signed by the prison’s health Formal delivery of legal documents to a person to tell them there are court proceedings against them which they must defend, or to make sure a witness in a case knows when they have to go to court to give evidence. manager, then sent to Justice Health for approval.