The prevalence of many health conditions is higher amongst people under probation supervision than in the general population. Probation staff work in partnership with healthcare organisations to identify health needs and improve the health of people under supervision. During the pandemic, probation adopted an Exceptional Delivery Model, replacing most face-to-face supervision with remote supervision.

Using qualitative staff surveys with a convenience sample of frontline staff (n=27) and interviews with people under supervision (n=11), we investigated perceptions of the impact of the response to covid-19 on health-related probation practice, the lived experience of seeking health support whilst under supervision, and partnership working and pathways into healthcare.

To date, we have created themes around the importance of face-to-face communication; partnerships and service access; impact on health; remote appointments; innovations; impact on staff; risk management; digital capability and access; and flexibility, discretion, trust and choice. This research will have real world benefit as findings will inform recovery planning in probation, including for the delivery of community sentence treatment requirements, and the NHS England RECONNECT project to improve continuity of care for prisoners. We will make recommendations around avoiding negative consequences of change, and spreading beneficial innovations identified in the research in future practice.

Dr Coral Sirdifield, School of Health and Social Care, University of Lincoln
Dr Helen Nichols, School of Social and Political Science, University of Lincoln
Dr Philip Mullen, Revolving Doors Agency
Revolving Doors Agency Peer Researchers