HMP Wandsworth has started to use GP referral software to keep inmates out of hospital and help reduce waiting times.
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, which delivers healthcare services to the prison, is trialling Kinesis Advice and Guidance (A&G) software for 12 months.
The software allows GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals working within HMP Wandsworth to request information directly from NHS consultants.
Expert clinical advice is received within 48 hours and can be viewed on any device, anywhere.
In most cases treatment will be delivered by Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust’s prison-based clinical team giving prisoners fair access to care for their often-challenging conditions.
Clinical lead for Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust at HMP Wandsworth, Dr Alex Bunn, said: “Kinesis A&G brings great benefits to the prison population, has potential to reduce waiting lists and provides continuous professional development.
“As a service, healthcare teams are keen to innovate and make better use of technology to cope with the diverse and complex medical cases prison clinicians face daily.
“Advice and guidance improves clinical certainty. We can give patients the right advice from the right person immediately and if they do need hospital treatment, they are referred to the most appropriate department first time.”
Kinesis A&G is routinely used by 2,960 GPs and 850 consultants across the UK.
So far it has prevented 47,500 unnecessary hospital appointments saving the NHS £8 million in direct referrals and more £20 million when all costs are included.
Director of Kinesis A&G, Simon Hudson, added: “The traditional system of GPs referring patients to hospitals is unnecessarily costing the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds annually.
“It can be drastically reduced simply by GPs being able to communicate directly with consultants.
“This online platform gives them a clear, fast route and also improves their skills to help future patients.”