Richard Steggall MCPara

Police Custody

Job Title: 
Clinical Lead (Senior Paramedic) Prison Service Paramedic
Place of Work: HMP Highpoint (& HMP Channings Wood 2019-2021)


What does your job include?
I am privileged to now head a small team of Healthcare professionals in a secure environment. I started off as the Senior Paramedic and have recently taken up the role as Clinical Lead, a role that has traditionally been nursing. I cover the code calls (red and blue) along side other nursing staff which in essence are the emergency calls within the prison that require an immediate response. Theses calls are covered by Government legislation and require a 999 ambulance to be called straight away. Part of introducing Paramedics into the prisons was to ensure that the patients get the right care at the right time, but also to assist the prison in making sure that only those that need to be conveyed to hospital are. There has been a great reduction in patients going to hospital, as they can be managed at point of contact, suture, wound care, blood tests, monitoring etc. Other aspect include assessing patients for referral to other specialist services, triage or acute conditions, minor injuries and minor illness problems. Some times we are asked to attend Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT reviews). This document and process is used for those patients needing more assistance when at time of crisis or if they feel like they are going to deliberate self harm or make attempts on their own life. Another aspect is to attend planned patient removals from one location to another, if this involves control and

restraint (C&R) the use of force and or handcuffs etc. The patient will have to be assessed for any injury and to ensure that they are able to stay at the location required. On occasions I also go to the segregation (SEG) unit to complete daily welfare checks on all patients in the SEG. Mental health referrals and Multi disciplinary Meetings (MDT) are also an integral part of the workload. 


How did you get into your role?

To be honest I followed my boss (Sue Gorman) who I had work with in primary care, a GP surgery in Cullompton. She introduced me to Police custody and then into the prison service, the way it was sold to me was no late finishes (hard to believe, but true) no nights and no weekends, since moving I now work every other weekend but as Clinical Lead I will soon be working four days a week during the week and no weekends, why would you not want to work in the prison? More recently paramedics have been taking jobs along the management roles and are proving that there is a career pathway for paramedics in prison healthcare. On the flip side if you want to work in the GP / primary care arena then this is a nice place to work. Several firms now provide healthcare within the secure environment, I work at present for Practice Plus Group (formally Care UK)  who provide training facilities to ensure that skill loss is kept to a minimal. Lots of other primary care training opportunities are also accessible CPD and on line resources. 


What do you think is the most important benefit of being a member of the College of Paramedics, and why?
I have been privileged to be an area Council Board member and a member of the CoP since the very beginning. I have also been able to present at the Emergency Services Show CPD workshops, along side many other forward thinking and proactive paramedics. The CoP offers huge benefits which the board have fought for over the years and which are now benefitting any member. I have met some amazing people and continue to admire the progression made in all aspects of Paramedicine and the integration of all working areas that have paramedics working in, whether that be NHS or private / Military etc.