Clean bill of health for Prison medical

Published: 12 Nov 2012

Western Australia’s Acacia prison has had its Health Services nationally recognised with the Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) today confirming Acacia meets its accreditation standards.

The accreditation is similar to the level required from a General Practitioner service in the wider community.

The prison is managed by Serco Australia. Serco Chief Executive Officer David Campbell said the accreditation recognised the significant commitment of the Acacia health staff to providing a high quality level of care at the prison.

“The health services at Acacia are part of an overall program where people in our care are managed with decency and respect,” Mr Campbell said.

“We are able to provide a holistic health program, similar to what can be expected in the community. By doing this offenders are able to manage their ongoing health with our support, improving their prospects for successful release.”

Acacia director Paul McMullan said the accreditation process and outcome confirmed the Prison’s initial accreditation three years ago.

Mr McMullan said that by seeking independent review the services could be benchmarked and the professional standards of the staff maintained against similar criteria to external providers.

“The standards that apply are based on the same standards in the general community but have been adapted to acknowledge the uniqueness of our environment,” Mr McMullan said.

“The health service we run mirrors an external General Practitioners service with offenders making appointments, seeing a doctor or specialist and then having an ongoing management program if there is a specific issue such as diabetes,” Mr McMullan said.

“For example, our health receptionists are trained to Australian Medical Association (AMA) standards and we have two doctors, 20 nurses including addiction specialists and mental health specialists, and a phlebotomist for laboratory tests and procedures.

“When specialists are attending the prison we can have 100-150 prisoners attend the health centre in one day so the need to create a working GP environment is important.

“By doing this we are normalising a process that offenders will need to manage on release. It is part of Acacia’s Responsible Prisoner philosophy where prisoners recognise the need to manage themselves as they move towards release and reduces the chances of reoffending.”

Mr McMullen said that education and preventative programs formed a significant part of the health services program and were assessed as part of the overall accreditation.

“We know that prisoners on release may not manage their health unless they are guided. Often they see the Emergency Departments of hospitals as their primary source of care. If we can educate and normalise the process of health management, we are reducing the impact on these important community services.”


Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited (AGPAL) is a leading provider of accreditation and related quality improvement services to general practices.

Established in 1997, AGPAL is a not-for-profit organisation committed to delivering dedicated support services to general practice, medical deputising services, after-hours services, Aboriginal medical services and Royal Flying Doctor services as they work to achieve accreditation, measured against the Standards developed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

Accreditation is independent recognition that an organisation, program or activity meets the requirements of defined criteria or standards. Accreditation provides assurance for owners, managers, staff, funding bodies and consumers about quality and performance.