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Correctional Health Services


As of October 1, 2017, the Provincial Health Services Authority assumed responsibility for health services provided in BC correctional centres. Correctional Health Services is operated as part of PHSA’s BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services portfolio. 

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. This responsibility for BCMHSUS will help to improve the quality and continuity of health care services for clients as they move between correctional centres and 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.



Services 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 is 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. 


Health care teams, located in each centre, include physicians, nurses, mental health and substance use professionals and others working together to assess, screen, triage, treat and transition clients back to the community. This involves close collaboration with community-based service providers in the regional health authorities.

Correctional Health Services is building on the existing foundation of quality care and service. The vast majority of PHSA Correctional Health staff previously worked in BC correctional centres under the contractor previously responsible for health care services. Their experience and expertise support a smooth transition and will help to ensure service continuity. The new staffing model includes approximately 30 additional positions across BC’s ten provincial correctional centres.  

PHSA recognizes the role of BC Corrections staff as partners in client care. Correctional officers keep staff and clients safe, and maintain an environment conducive to quality, client-focused care.

A collaborative approach that includes BC Corrections, PHSA Correctional Health Services, regional health authorities, First Nations Health Authority and other community partners support client transitions between correctional centres and community.

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SOURCE: Correctional Health Services ( )
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