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Correctional Health Services


Effective October 1, 2017, BCMHSUS will provide health care services at all provincial correctional centres in the province.

In March 2017, the provincial government announced that the Provincial Health Services Authority would assume responsibility for delivering health care services at BC's 10 provincial correctional centres. This will help to improve the quality and continuity of health care services for clients both during their time in correctional facilities and as they transition into the community. 

BC is one of the first provinces in Canada to move responsibility for correctional health care services from a ministry of justice to a ministry of health, as recommended by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the World Health Organization. Planning to take on this responsibility in October is underway.



Health care services at correctional centres are currently delivered by a private company that has been under contract with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General since 2015.

This new responsibility for BCMHSUS will improve the continuity of care for clients as they move between correction centres and the community, and is consistent with best practice recommendations by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the World Health Organization and the BC Coroner's Service. These experts all recommend that health care services in corrections facilities should be integrated within the broader public health care system.

BCMHSUS has a broad network of well-established external partnerships with regional health authorities, advocacy organizations and other health care agencies across BC, and is well-positioned to provide this care.


Services will include:

  • Medical and nursing care for clients in correctional facilities
  • Mental health and substance use services
  • Urgent care and basic emergency response services for clients
  • Selected public health services for clients and staff (i.e. immunization clinics)
  • Urgent dental care
  • Health-related discharge planning and transition to community care
  • Pharmacy services
  • Other contracted services that are currently provided in correctional facilities (such as x-ray imaging, lab work, etc.)

Model of care

BCMHSUS has developed a model of care for correctional health services at ten provincial correctional centres across British Columbia that will improve the quality and continuity of care and integrate health care services within the broader BC public health care system. The focus will be to provide high quality health care to clients with complex physical, mental health and/or substance use issues while they are in custody.  Upon admission, all  clients will have a complete physical and mental health assessment to identify those who are ill, are undergoing treatment for a particular disease, or are at high risk for health and mental health complications. This will help to ensure continuation of medication and/or other appropriate treatment, identify and prevent the spread of communicable diseases, and identify clients at risk of suicide or self-harm. After the initial assessment, clients will receive further care as needed. 

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SOURCE: Correctional Health Services ( )
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