CONCERNS have been raised about the number of healthcare appointments missed by prisoners in Wrexham.

Between April 2019 and February 2020, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board provided 51,370 appointments for inmates at HMP Berwyn.

Of these, 8,119 (15.8 per cent) were wasted due to prisoners failing to attend.

The figure was released in the annual report of the prison's Independent Monitoring Board, which was published this month.

According to the report, the number of missed appointments "continues to be concerning."

It explains: "These wasted appointments cause frustration as it is well known that other prisoners are waiting for similar appointments.

"Further work needs to be undertaken to understand the cause of non-attendances at healthcare appointments, recognising that there could be a number of reasons, including competing appointment priorities (such as legal visits), inability to move around the prison to attend an appointment (lost movement slip, lack of staff to unlock) or a fear of bad news as just a few potential reasons.

"The work being undertaken by the health and wellbeing peer mentors should go some way to establishing some of the reasons.

"The health and wellbeing peer mentors have operated a healthcare helpline since November 2018.

"The helpline is available for prisoners to call if they are having healthcare related issues.

"The initiative has been well received so far, with 1,611 calls received between March 2019 and February 2020."