Register patients released from the secure residential estate

Email sent on behalf of Kate Davies CBE, National Director of Health & Justice, Armed Forces & Sexual Assault Services and Jake Hard, Chair of the RCGP Secure Environments Group

Dear colleagues,

Reminder of contractual requirement to register patients being released from the secure residential estate and update for 2021

Last year we wrote to you about registering individuals prior to their release from the secure residential estate (prisons, young offender institutions, secure training centres and immigration removal centres). This is a requirement of the NHS England Standard General Medical Services (GMS) Contract 2017/18 (see page 64) and a commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan, which is intended to simplify the process of registering individuals as they transition back in to the community, improve the receipt of patient information, avoid gaps in necessary treatment and ensure that clinicians are in full receipt of all medical information.

We want to remind you of this contractual change and emphasise the importance of GMS registering. Failure to register an individual leaving the secure and detained estate, who will often have a long and complex medical history, could have a negative impact on the care they are able to receive.

Requirement of GP practices

GP practices are asked to ensure that processes are in place to meet this contractual requirement, with information on how to do this here. Please do make every effort to implement this process which supports improvements to patient care and is aimed at reducing health inequalities.

 Update to GMS registering in 2021

Healthcare services in secure settings will be rolling out GP registration over the coming year. Patients will be able to register with a GP from the healthcare provider in their place of detention in the same way that they register with a GP in the community. This will be rolled out in a phased approach across secure settings (prisons, young offender institutions, secure training centres and immigration removal centres) in England in 2021. This change will enable a patient’s general practice record to transfer to their place of detention, allowing clinicians working in these settings full access to the individual’s medical record and history. As a result, healthcare teams will be able to offer the most appropriate and effective treatment. This is vital in helping to support better health outcomes and maintain continuity of care.  

While GMS registering across the secure and detained estate is being implemented, you may be asked to provide a summary of a patient’s medical history. Please send across this information when requested and check that your I.T. settings allow the sharing of information, where applicable, with secure settings so that clinicians working in secure settings can provide the most appropriate care to patients transferring to them. If your settings do not allow for the sharing of information with the secure residential estate, you will need to send an electronic summary. You do not need a patient’s consent to pass on this information. 

Should you have any queries relating to the information above, please email