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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My Son has a health problem and has been prescribed Ensure

Customer Question

My Son has a health problem and has been prescribed Ensure drinks twice a day by a Special Clinic Specialist, of whom he is a patient. Unfortunately he is currently in prison and they have informed him that he is not entitled to have these Ensure drinks as they are not prescribed by the Prisons GP. This does not seem just to me as the Specialists knowledge of his health problem is clearly more in depth than that of the Prison GP and so I find it hard to believe that the prison can overrule the Specialists medical prescription. Please can you advise whether the prison is legally and ethically obliged to adhere to the Specialists prescription or whether this is down to their own discretion?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

I do completely see why you are aggrieved about this but ultimately we are all hampered by the law.

Sorry for the delay.

I know this isn’t going to be the answer you want to hear, and it’s certainly not what I want to tell you. However, I wish to be completely honest with you, so I feel obligated to not give you false hope.

The prison, per se, are not responsible. They only have a duty to ensure that he does see a doctor and that they follow the medication issued by that doctor.

The prison doctor might well be liable for medical negligence. Liability doesn't stop just because his patients are in prison.

Arguably a prison doctor is a prison employee and so the prison do have vicarious liability but if the doctor is otherwise insured its always easier to use that.

In terms of whether this amounts to medical negligence, the short answer is that it depends. One diagnosis is not of greater value than another. It doesn't work like higher courts where the rulings are binding upon another. A specialist diagnosis would generally be followed though and it might amount to negligence if its not.

That would be a case of suing if he suffered some form of injury or regression.

I suppose also you could complain to the GMC about the diagnosis of this particular doctor.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.