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Procedure Properties

Title: Communication Protocols for Queensland Corrective Services Correctional Centre and Queensland Health Centre staff
Category: Support Services
Version: 02
Implement Date: 15 August 2008
Application: Agency
Availability: Public

Authority

Procedures

Procedure - Communication Protocols for Queensland Corrective Services Correctional Centre and Queensland Health Centre staff


Purpose
Background
1.Principles of partnership
2.Responsibilities
2.1QH centre staff
2.2QCS facility staff
3.Formal communication
4.Informal communication
5.Confidentiality
6.Progressing change
7.Resolution of issues

Purpose

1. To define the protocols for the regular communication and relationship exchanges between Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) facility staff and Queensland Health (QH) staff working in the health centre located within the corrective services facility.

2. To ensure that appropriate documentation and communication processes are implemented for the effective delivery of health services in the correctional environment.

Background

With the transition of responsibility for the delivery of offender health services from QCS to QH, there have been changes in the way services are delivered. To offer effective health services within a correctional environment, clear and open communications between the two agencies must occur at both an operational level and a corporate level. Health centre and custodial staff work as colleagues rather than as supervisor/supervisee. Effective health services in a corrective services facility require the support and goodwill of custodial staff. It is therefore crucial that staff of both agencies work collaboratively to ensure the best health outcomes for offenders.

1. Principles of partnership

The following principles form the basis of a combined commitment by both QH and QCS staff to work in partnership in relation to the delivery of health services to offenders-

  1. Purpose - all staff have a clear understanding of a common goal of providing effective health services to offenders;
  2. Commitment - all staff are committed to working together to achieve the common goal;
  3. Respect - staff acknowledge, and are inclusive of, the diverse skills, knowledge and perspectives each party brings;
  4. Understanding - all staff have identified roles, responsibilities and accountabilities;
  5. Competence - all staff demonstrate sound judgement and have strong communication and interpersonal skills; and
  6. Trust - all staff operate with integrity and honesty.

The interface between the two parties is necessarily characterised by regular two-way communication including -

  1. requests for information;
  2. attendance at meetings; and
  3. formal and informal discussions regarding offender health issues.

Communication may occur formally or informally between the General Manager or nominee and QH centre staff in relation to an offender's health and associated health care.

This information flow must occur in a way that facilitates outcomes and supports the efficient and effective operation of both the facility and the QH centre.

2. Responsibilities

2.1 QH centre staff

QH is responsible for ensuring the delivery of health services to offenders in line with standards of quality, access and effectiveness.

Duty of care requires the provision of some medical information regarding the offender to be disclosed to various facility personnel, but the information required should be in broad terms or in the form of practical advice rather than specific diagnosis, refer procedure - Confidentiality of Offender Medical Information held by QH. This information should be provided as requested to ensure the safe and secure operation of the facility.

QH centre staff have a responsibility for the health and welfare of all facility staff and offenders while maintaining the right of the offender to confidentiality of his/her medical information.

2.2 QCS facility staff

QCS is responsible for the safety and security of both the offenders in custody and staff working in the facility, including health centre staff.

A facility staff member who is aware of any pertinent facts regarding the health and well being of an offender should be encouraged to immediately pass such information to the QH centre nursing staff.

3. Formal communication

Each facility has regular formal communication processes in place. Examples of formal communications include-

  1. risk assessment meetings;
  2. operational meetings; and
  3. management meetings.

The inclusion of QH centre staff in regular formal communications at the facility level provides the basis for a strong working relationship, including information sharing.

Additionally, QH centre staff will initiate formal communication with facility staff as necessary and on request in relation to an offender's health and associated health care. This includes, for example-

  1. an offender ceasing to take medication, which may become a safety and/or security risk;
  2. intelligence information provided by offenders that may impact on safety and/or security; and
  3. information to escort staff which may impact on the safe transportation of offenders.

4. Informal communication

Informal communications occur on a daily basis. Informal communication facilitates the day to day management of offender health issues by QH centre staff whilst ensuring that facility staff are informed of issues impacting on safety and security.

5. Confidentiality

Under the Health Services Act 1991, all QH staff must ensure that a patient's health information and health record remains confidential.

Adherence to offender confidentiality regarding his/her health is paramount, however, in some situations, such as where there is risk to safety and security or there are duty of care considerations and information needs to be shared, refer procedures - Disclosure of Confidential Information; Confidentiality of Offender Medical Information held by QH.

6. Progressing change

Either party wanting to progress changes to work practices impacting on the other party must ensure full consultation prior to implementing such changes.

7. Resolution of issues

The resolution of issues between QCS facility and QH Centre staff should be managed at the local level if possible.

If this is not possible, the QH Offender Health Services Branch and QCS Offender Programs and Services Directorate must be called upon to resolve the issue.





Neil Whittaker
Acting Director-General





Version History

15/08/2008 Version 02