5 reasons to become a prison GP

Have you ever considered working as a prison GP? We’ve sat down with one of our locums who has been a part-time prison GP for two years, and a surgery GP for the previous five. Find out why she enjoys her career as a prison GP.

 

You can work flexible hours
That’s what first led me to becoming a prison GP. I left the GP surgery where I worked previously because I used to have to work late into the evening and I wanted to finish a bit earlier. I have children and this position enables me to finish early and work part-time at the prison, which suits me perfectly.

It’s personally rewarding
You really want to change the inmates’ lives for the better. I’m familiar with most of the problems prisoners have relating to drug and alcohol misuse as I previously worked for a UK addiction charity. I’m aware of the magnitude of the problem and feel confident that I can help. I treat the prisoners like I would anyone else, I don’t need to know why they’re there or what they’ve done. If they open up and you listen to their stories, some of them are really sad and you want to make a difference. There are risks working in a prison, but you can’t over think and worry you might get hurt; you could be injured walking down the road! I feel like I can make a difference to the prisoners’ lives.

You see a change in some prisoners
I saw a prisoner the other day who told me coming to jail has changed him and made him think differently. He is now doing his A Levels with the intention of going to university. It’s good because, when I saw him six weeks ago, he was in a bad way – but now he’s a totally different person.

I’m less stressed and feel appreciated
If I’m running behind in the prison, it’s usually because of security reasons, and although sometimes prisoners get upset at having to wait, they know it’s not in my hands. It’s hard to get an appointment with me so when they do, the prisoners appreciate it. I recently had a prisoner who kept saying thank you and shook my hand because he was so grateful that I was able to see him and hopefully help him.

Working as a prison GP is more social and dynamic
In a prison you’ll find that every day is different, it’s a bit like working in an accident and emergency department; it’s dynamic and no two days are the same, which I like. It’s a social environment as well – I feel like I’m helping prisoners as their doctor but also as their confidant.

If using your GP experience in a prison environment appeals to you, contact our specialist team to discuss your next steps on gp@athona.com or 01277 217777.