Our employees are our best and most important asset. Without them, we would not be able to provide the high quality care to patients that we are proud of. Our core value of putting people first does not only apply to the patients at the centre of everything we do, but to the employees who are right there with them.
We ask our employees to look after our patients and, in return, we look after our employees.
But don’t just take it from us… take it from them. We asked our employees to voluntarily provide feedback about their experience of working in the health and justice setting, and for HSH. Here’s what they’ve said:
Why did you apply to work in the secure setting?
Albeit not directly in the prison, I applied to work for [secure] healthcare as I have an interest in criminology and psychology, and I felt this would sit well with me. I didn’t know anything much about prison healthcare, or prisons in general, prior to starting at HSH – it has certainly been an eye-opener!
Describe your experience of working in the secure setting?
Although I am not ‘based’ at a [secure] site, I have worked in the prisons in various different ways to date. It is surprising how much your perceptions of prison life are based on media and fiction prior to experiencing a true prison setup. I have, to date, found the prisoners I have come into contact with to be friendly and well-mannered (on the whole). My fears prior to attending a prison for the first time were allayed shortly after my visit. I have heard many staff members say they feel safer in a prison than out in the community, and this resonates.
Has there been a standout moment for you?
One highlight for me was assisting with a High Intensity Testing and Treatment event at HMP Eastwood Park. Spending all day on various wings, and gaining experience communicating with the prisoners, really provided a true insight to their daily routines.
Describe your experience of working for HSH
Working for HSH has truly turned my career around. I work from home a substantial amount of the time, and this has enhanced my wellbeing exponentially. I have never worked for a company so familial and supportive, and I genuinely feel very lucky to work for HSH.
Being non-clinical has the potential to make me feel isolated from the remainder of the staff, but I have honestly never felt this divide within the company. I feel as though every individual is valued and praised for what they bring, and not based on where on the ladder they sit.
If someone asked you why they should consider working in secure healthcare, what would you tell them?
I would say that working for offender health presents you with unmatchable experiences and enables you to develop a wide range of transferable skills. I believe that undertaking work in a prison should be deemed a necessary part of healthcare training. There is also a special dynamic among prison healthcare staff that I feel you would be hard pushed to find elsewhere.
“Hi, I’m an Admin Team Leader working within one of the prisons.
I started working in the prison in 2000 after being an Assistant Transport Manager in the haulage/waste industry for a number of years. I first became interested in working within the prison setting when a friend of mine, who was an officer, told me of a vacancy within the healthcare department. I thought this would be an interesting job; applied, got the job and am still here 20 years later.
During my time here, I have gained valuable experience and skills within the prison environment. I have found my experience of working within the prison setting interesting, exciting and at times quite challenging.
If someone asked me why they should consider working within the prison setting, I would tell them to visit the prison before making any final decisions as to some, it could appear quite daunting.
Since April 2020, I have been employed by Hanham Secure Health when they took over the physical health service. As an employer, HSH is a fantastic company to work for and I cannot fault them in any way.”
“Hi, I have been working as a GP in prisons since 2016.
I first became interested in prison medicine because of my previous background working with patients with substance misuse problems and my prison work has allowed me to further develop this interest. We have become much more aware of the risks of long term opioid, gabapentinoid and benzodiazepine use, and it has been a hugely rewarding challenge helping my patients with chronic pain to come off these medications.
I love the variety that prison medicine gives to my working day. Our patients are often vulnerable and disadvantaged, and for many reasons they often do not access healthcare services in the community. As a result when they come to us they often have significant comorbid physical and mental health problems. I have seen TB, endocarditis, pelvic inflammatory disease from STIs and acute DVTs amongst many other interesting problems in my patients.
Finally, I really enjoy the interaction with other team members that prison work gives me. Acute and planned care nursing teams, substance misuse teams, pharmacy and meds management teams, mental health teams, administration teams… there seems to be a constant knock on my door and it is certainly less isolating than traditional General Practice can sometimes be.”
“Hi, I’m a GP working within prisons.
I started working in prisons in 2016 after after completing my GP training in Bristol.
I first became interested in working within the prison setting when I worked in secure psychiatric hospital during my training. This is something I have also been able to pick up working for HSH and I now do regular GP sessions at a local secure psychiatric hospital as well.
During my time in prisons, I have undertaken additional training in substance misuse and ADHD.
I have found my experience of working within the prison setting very rewarding. For many of our patients, their only real opportunity to access healthcare is whilst they are in prison so we really do have an opportunity to make difference.
If someone asked me why they should consider working within the prison setting, I would tell them to do it if you want interesting patients and variety in your working day.
Since April 2020, I have been employed by Hanham Secure Health. As an employer, HSH is very response to any issues which arise and I have always found them to be very supportive”
“Hi, I’m a Clinical Nurse Manager at one of the prisons.
I started at the prison in 2017 after working in different sites across Hospital Medical Divisions since qualifying as a Registered Nurse in 2007.
I first became interested in working within the prison setting after bumping into a former colleague who had recently started a nursing job at HMP Swansea. She spoke so passionately about her role and how much she loved it. Shortly afterwards I mentioned this conversation to another colleague, who immediately began to list reasons why I should not pursue this. I remember thinking that most of these reasons were unkind, judgmental and unsubstantiated. As I continued to discuss the option with others, I was surprised by the number of healthcare professionals who shared these discriminatory views. It occurred to me that throughout my training and career until that point, I had never recognised that people living in a prison setting were such a vulnerable patient group. I quickly found myself wanting to advocate for them and challenge common misconceptions about what prisoners do and don’t deserve.
During my time at the prison I have had many learning opportunities including both formal and informal training. I have acquired both clinical and managerial skills that I would not have encountered in a hospital setting and have had some wonderful experiences unique to this environment. One of my most memorable experiences has been building a therapeutic relationship with a patient who had previously had no interest in engaging with Health Care to manage his chronic bilateral leg ulcers. These ulcers had caused this gentleman a great deal of frustration and embarrassment and he was convinced that nothing would improve or heal them. With continued encouragement, education and support, this gentleman engaged with the recommended treatment and both legs healed. It felt so good to watch this gentleman become increasingly engaged in his own general health and start actively participating in shared decision-making about his ongoing health management and care plan.
I have found my experience of working within the prison setting challenging at times and it took me a while to get used to working around the prison regime. However, we work hard to maintain a cooperative and mutually respectful relationship with prison staff, so that the patients get the best possible care.
If someone asked me why they should consider working within the prison setting, I would tell them that I consider it a privilege to be involved in the ongoing efforts to improve health and well-being outcomes for a vulnerable patient group who have long been disadvantaged.
Since April 2020, I have been employed by Hanham Secure Health. As an employer HSH genuinely places a great deal of emphasis on staff well-being. They are quick to acknowledge successful outcomes for both teams and individuals, whilst supportively and constructively addressing any areas requiring improvement. I honestly feel that they go above and beyond to ensure their staff feel valued. Their core values include Equivalence, which I find particularly appealing given the disadvantages often experienced by this patient group.”
“Hi, I am a Clinical Team Leader within the Urgent Care team at one of our prisons.
I have been working in the prison for 5 years and have been with the Urgent Care team for around 2 years. I was based within the Substance Misuse Team for 2 years before that and prior to that I worked across all area of healthcare including Medicine Management and Planned Care.
Since I qualified as a Registered Nurse (many years ago), I have worked in a variety of care settings including neurology, medical, surgery, palliative care and minor injuries. Whilst browsing NHS Jobs one day I saw a job advertised at the prison and thought that it looked interesting so I arranged a visit to look around. I must have been impressed because I applied for the job!
During my time at the prison, I have been able to develop my skills in prison nursing, responding to the urgent care needs of the female patients – such as seizures, self-harm and imminent child birth – and also in assessing the physical healthcare needs of patients with complex issues including those relating to substance misuse withdrawal.
I have had the opportunity to do the RCGP Certificate in the Management of Drug Misuse, the prison See and Treat course and also training in other areas including blood borne viruses, tuberculosis, immunisations and vaccinations, suicide and self-harm, female genital mutilation and MEWS training from the midwife.
I would recommend prison nursing to anyone looking for a change and for those wanting to make a difference. Whilst it can sometimes be challenging and unpredictable, prison nursing offers nurses the chance to improve the lives of patients who often may not have had an opportunity to access healthcare for a long time and who can present with a variety of healthcare needs.
Since April 2020, I have been employed by Hanham Secure Health when they took over the physical healthcare service at the prison. As an employer, Hanham Secure Health is supportive of staff, offering many training opportunities. They also involve staff in their decision making, giving staff the opportunity to vote on decisions that affect them.”
“Hi, I’m an Advanced Clinical Practitioner working across two male prisons.
I started in this role in January 2020 after working for 3 years at one of our other prisons, with a brief break out of prisons with the out of hours team. When I left the prison environment, I realised how much I missed it.
I first became interested in working within the prison setting when I did a placement as a student nurse where I thoroughly enjoyed the variety and pace of prison nursing.
During my time in the prisons, I have started on the advanced clinical practitioner apprenticeship programme, completed the physical assessment and clinical reasoning course and am currently undertaking my non-medical prescribing qualification, working towards a masters in Advanced Practice.
One of my most memorable experiences has been the hidden hero’s day at one of the prisons, where prison staff and healthcare came together to celebrate our efforts in the recent difficult times. We all felt appreciated and valued as a team and it was a welcomed opportunity to take time to reflect on the recent times and our teamwork.
I have found my experience of working within the prison setting positively challenging, exciting and interesting. What I like most about working within the prison setting is the variety of situations and conditions I see on a day to day basis and the level of autonomy in which I can practice.
If someone asked me why they should consider working within the prison setting, I would tell them that no two days are the same and you will meet and work with some of the best colleagues.
Since April 2020, I have been employed by Hanham Secure Health when they took over the physical health service at the prisons. As an employer, HSH are appreciative, supportive and are interested in developing their staff.”
“Hi, I’m a nurse working in one of the prisons.
I started at the prison in 2018 after previously working as a HCA and nurse in hospital settings for the past 30 years. I used to be a recovery nurse working in Theatres, then had a career break to raise a family. On my return to work I became a HCA in a private hospital and then a general hospital, until I regained my nursing qualification by undertaking the return to nursing (RTP) course on a surgical ward.
I first became interested in working within the prison setting when I saw a position advertised as I completed my RTP training. I left it a year and took a job on a surgical ward, then saw a job advertised again at a time when I needed a change. The prison is quite local to me and to be honest I was intrigued as to what went on behind the prison walls. The best thing that I did was to ring and speak to the staff and then come for a look around to see how I felt about the environment. It didn’t scare me being surrounded by prisoners (although I was wary), but it made me realise that this was a role I thought I could do and that I would not treat the prisoners any different to how I treated any other patients under my care.
During my time at the prison I have gone from having no primary care experience to becoming much more confident in this role. It helped that I was offered training on patient assessment and this increased my knowledge to a great degree. I now come onto a shift not knowing what the day may bring but feeling confident that I have the knowledge and experience to be able to deal with whatever happens, knowing that I have the back up of more senior staff to ask if required.
One of my most memorable experiences has been to take a lead role in the care of a patient undergoing treatment for cancer, being able to co-ordinate his care and be a link between him, other healthcare staff and the hospital. Also, although I feel a bit guilty saying it, I love the mix of planned care with emergencies thrown in. You never know what you are going to go to when the call goes out for Code Blue or Code Red, but it is always interesting and knowledge from each incident adds to learning.
I have found my experience of working within the prison setting the best choice I made. Never a dull moment and no two days are the same. Things I dislike are locking and unlocking doors/gates continually! No mobile phones allowed in the prison and no metal cutlery! We work closely with the prison officers and this can be great, but also has its downfalls when the prison regime doesn’t match what we need in healthcare. E.g. trying to get patients to our Healthcare Building for appointments. Verbal abuse can be a problem but I have never felt under any threat of physical violence.
If someone asked me why they should consider working within the prison setting, I would tell them that it’s a great job if you like change. The primary care side is challenging for the brain, to try and work out what may be wrong with a patient and then finding the right path of care to pursue. Treating patients with equality and respect, paying no regard to what their offence was is very important, you can’t let that cloud your opinion of them. I’d say that we work well as a team, can have a laugh and see the funny side of some of the situations we can find ourselves in! In a nutshell – Primary Care with emergencies thrown in, and administering medications on top.
Since April 2020, I have been employed by Hanham Secure Health when they took over the physical health service. As an employer, HSH is proactive in trying to keep our training up to date in these difficult times, and I feel that they are genuinely interested in getting the best out of their staff, and endeavour to keep us up to date in new ideas and innovations.”
“Hi, I am a Healthcare Assistant working at one of the prisons.
I started at the prison in 2009 after a varied career working within the mental health and learning disability sectors of care where I gained my NVQ L2 in health and social care.
I first became interested in working within the prison setting when I watched a BBC documentary set within HMP Holloway and after seeing what the nursing staff did, such as the varied workload, personal challenges and dealing with medical emergencies, I felt that this environment would be a good step for my career development and here I am 11yrs later still working within the secure setting.
During my time at the prison I have gained clinical skills such as phlebotomy, taking ECG’s, as well as learning teaching skills as I have facilitated offender alcohol awareness sessions as well as other courses relating to substance misuse. I am fully trained in motivational interviewing which now enables me to undertake extended alcohol interventions. Most of these skills I would not have been able to obtain outside of the prison environment.
One of my most memorable experiences has been working on a project that ensured the safety of offenders and creating a prison workbook and training package that ensured all current and new starters had the skills, confidence and knowledge to identify current risks of self-harm related the secure environment.
I have found my experience of working within the prison setting challenging at times as we care for a diverse group of individuals but in saying that no two days are the same. I really like the fact that one day I could be rushed off my feet doing lots of physical observations, substance misuse withdrawals, dealing with emergencies amongst other things, then the next day I could get time to gain therapeutic working relationships and help individuals with tasks such as understanding letters they may have received as everyone’s ability to learn and understand is different and this really does help to empower the patients we care for.
If anyone were to ask me what I do not like about working within a prison and my honest answer would be, not much, as with any job you will have your good and bad days but on the whole I love working within a prison environment.
If someone asked me why they should consider working within the prison setting, I would tell them, if you like a challenge, always ready to learn, empathic, a good listener and supportive then you’re half way there. The staff and organisation will take care of the rest. The support and career development you will receive is second to none. You will also learn skills that will benefit you for a lifetime.
Since April 2020, I have been employed by Hanham Secure Health when they took over the physical health service at the prison. As an employer, HSH are an excellent. The staff benefits are great as they offer the technology and cycle scheme. They fully support staff development as in November I will be commencing my Open University Level 3 diploma in substance misuse which they are fully funding. HSH fully support their staff and show equality, diversity and respect for all that work within HSH and they 100% value and recognise everything you do for the organisation. No matter if you’re a Band 2 or Band 8a every person feels part of the team.”
“Hi, I’m a healthcare assistant working at one of the prisons.
I started in the prison in 2019 after working in HMP Walton, Bath Emergency Department and graduating from university with a Law and Criminology degree.
I first became interested in working within the prison setting when I decided to try something different from other fields of work I have been in before. I enjoy working in fast paced environments and having each day different to the last.
During my time at the prison I have gained confidence and many new skills – I’m always learning and I love this. One of my most memorable experiences has been how we as a team, along with the prison staff, have adapted to the challenges faced with Covid-19. We all work together in these uncertain times supporting each other and providing the best care for our patients. This is valuable for our patients because some haven’t faced being outside yet since the start of Covid, so it’s a frightening time for them and can affect in many ways. By uniting as a team it reassures and goes along way for those patients worried.
I have found my experience of working within the prison setting amazing, valuable and different to any other place I’ve worked. I enjoy coming to work each day and I love not knowing how each day will unfold. Each new day I learn something new, my colleagues are invaluable and I feel like we are a family. Each one of my colleagues has a passion for giving their best and this makes me proud to be working along side them.
If someone asked me why they should consider working within the prison setting, I would tell them: if you’re passionate about helping patients and enjoy the unknowing of how the day will plan out then this is the job for you. It’s not the typical 9-5 job, it’s exciting and different. I could not see myself working anywhere else.
Since April 2020, I have been employed by Hanham Secure Health when they took over the physical health service at the prison. As an employer, HSH is very supportive. I feel valued, supported and happy. I’m passionate about doing my best for our patients giving 110% and I feel recognised by HSH for giving my best. I’m proud to work for HSH and in this prison and I look forward to meeting new colleagues and showing them how great it is to work here.”
“Hello, I currently work as a Band 4 Nurse Associate in the Urgent Care within one of our prisons.
Previous to coming to this prison, I completed an access to higher education diploma in order to further my career and had been working as a HCA in theatres at Southmead hospital in Bristol. I have always enjoyed working in theatres and I have worked in a variety of different theatre settings.
I also spent a couple of years working for the Big Issue Cymru helping some of the most vulnerable members of society, many of whom had problems accessing healthcare due to their substance misuse and mental health issues, it is this experience that probably sparked my interest in working within the prison system.
During my time at the prison I have gained a wealth of experience in many aspects of offender healthcare, from substance misuse, BBV and dressing clinics to medicines management. I also got to attend UWE for 2 years to complete my Nurse Associate training. Many of these experiences have taught me a lot about compassion, the human condition and perhaps most of all, about myself.
I have had so many great experiences with my team at the prison that I couldn’t possibly list them all here, however, delivering a baby that was keen to make an early appearance has to be one of the most remarkable. Of course there are occasions where working at the prison can be very challenging; we are after all working with some very complex patients with complex healthcare needs in a setting where prison protocols must also be observed. There is always a positive though, I have had great hands-on training with my team who I have become very close to and who are always supportive, it is with them I have learned how to become more resilient.
In April 2020 my employer at the prison changed and I am now employed by Hanham Secure Health, which is a GP led company many of whom have been working alongside my team, so I feel this has given them a brilliant understanding of working in the prison environment and this is evident by how supportive of their staff they are.
Several years ago if someone had told me I would be working in prison I definitely wouldn’t of believed them, now, I cannot imagine working anywhere else.”
“Hi, I am a Healthcare Assistant working at one of the prisons.
I started at he prison in 2017 after working at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, and prior to that various nursing homes. Mandatory training is pretty much the same where ever you go within the care industry, but while I was at RUH I was also able to do my phlebotomy course.
I first became interested in working within the prison service setting when I saw the job advertised on NHS jobs. I saved it at first as I wasn’t sure if prison care was for me, but care is care wherever you are and I love care work so I thought I would give it a go and see if I could help in a small way within a prison setting.
During my time at the prison, I have been lucky enough to have done so much training (other than the normal mandatory training) – level 5 Assistant Practitioner course, Vaccines, immunisations, the list is endless and I quite literally have done more than 20 non-mandatory training courses during my time here; there is always a course that I can attend if I choose to do it.
I have found my experience of working within the prison setting a very positive one, I love the excitement of not knowing what might happen each day – no two days are the same. There are great learning opportunities, and being part of an amazing team who look after each other gives me a great sense of belonging – my work family!
Chatting to the prisoners as individuals, whether it be having a joke with them or helping them with health related issues is very rewarding and the patients appreciate it.
Why should someone work in a prison? For all of the above reasons and great job satisfaction.
Since 2020 I have been employed by Hanham Secure Health. HSH is a friendly, supportive company to work for who value and care for their staff which in turn supports their passion to deliver great health care to the patients.”
“Hi, I have worked as a Healthcare Assistant in the prison for 7 years. I started my career doing home care then worked for four years in the Bristol Royal infirmary on the wards including A&E.
I have always been interested in working within the prison setting as my father was a prison officer for 35 years. I applied for another prison a few years previously and didn’t get the job as another candidate had more experience. I then went and gained more experience in the A&E department. I consider this my dream job.
During my time at the prison I have continued to gain new skills and knowledge. One of my most memorable experiences has been when I went above and beyond in my role to deliver great patient care to one of the prisoners in a crisis situation. This was a great example of teamwork with healthcare and the prison staff.
I have found my experience of working within the prison setting a unique one which comes with its own challenges. I enjoy being responsible for my own clinic, dealing with many conditions and situations and working in a diverse team.
If someone asked me why they should consider working within the prison setting, I would tell them to go for it, it is truly a fantastic place to work where each day is different.
Since April 2020, I have been employed by Hanham Secure Health. As an employer, HSH is a great company to work for are supportive, and offer lots of training opportunities.”