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A ground-breaking initiative from the healthcare team at HMP Guys Marsh, near Shaftesbury, that has supported prison officers and saved lives during lockdown hours, is among the finalists for a prestigious national nursing award.

The healthcare team’s COILS initiative – Custodial Officer Intermediate Life Support – is among the finalists at this year’s Nursing Times Awards. It enables prison officers to give immediate support to prisoners taken ill out of hours, when healthcare professionals may not be on site. This can support those who have experienced a sudden health crisis or those who have overdosed or taken illicit drugs.

cate jameson
Cate Jameson

The initiative has not only given prison officers a wider range of life-saving equipment needed to give immediate support, but the healthcare team has also provided them with enhanced training. The prison’s head of healthcare, Cate Jameson, explains: ‘We were delighted to hear we are in the finals for the award and I am also pleased that it recognises the work and dedication of prison officers. This is an initiative that aims to save lives, and each life saved is reward enough.

‘HMP Guys Marsh is in rural Dorset, 45 minutes from the nearest hospital, so when a prisoner is taken ill out of hours it is vital that prison officers, with the right training and the right equipment, can make a difference fast.’

Health in Justice medical director Dr Sarah Bromley said: ‘I am incredibly proud of the team and I think it also shows the commitment and foresight of the Governor and the team at HMP Guys Marsh. They also care for the wellbeing of those in prison and it is very rewarding to see the teams working together.’

All Guys Marsh prison officers are now COILS trained.

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