Oral Health Improvement and Dental Services in Scottish Prisons

Guidance for NHS Boards on oral health improvement and dental services in Scottish Prisons.

7. Recommendations

7.1 Oral Health Improvement

1. A survey of the oral health of prisoners in Scotland should be undertaken every 5 years to monitor improvements and inform service design.

2. All establishments should through a whole-prison approach have comprehensive, evidence-based oral health improvement programmes in place.

3. In partnership with the SPS, NHS Boards should work towards a seamless throughcare process including liberation to ensure oral health gains are not lost.

7.2 Service provision

1. Boards should involve the wider dental team, hygienist/therapists and oral health promoters, in delivering services

2. Information on arrangements to access dental care should be part of the induction process for those entering prison

3. The level of dental care available to those in prison should be equivalent of that available to the community outside prison

4. NHS prison dental teams and SPS staff should promote a pattern of dental check-ups according to each prisoner's need

5. Boards should monitor the level of treatment provision in each establishment in order to meet the oral health needs of the local prison population

6. Boards and SPS should agree local arrangements for managing the acute dental problem

7. Boards should ensure that the principles of throughcare are embedded in local prison dental service policies

7.3 Governance

1. A national IT and uniform dental clinical software systems should be in place to allow dental clinical information to be transferred quickly across Scotland.

2. Dentists should be able to access relevant areas of the prisoners medical casenotes to ensure the safe delivery of patient care.

3. NHS Boards should collaborate to determine what 'prior approval' and quality assurance arrangements are required.

4. Clinical activity reporting for the prison dental service should be submitted electronically and reported separately.

5. The Deputy Chief Dental Officer of Scottish should retain a national strategic overview of dental services in prisons.

7.4 Education

1. NHS Education Scotland to assume responsibility for the continuing professional development for dental teams working in prisons

2. NHS Boards and SPS should work jointly to ensure that:

  • dental teams are prepared for working in a custodial environment
  • SPS staff are prepared for supporting oral health improvement


Email: Elizabeth Mclear

Back to top