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Junior doctor at Auckland Prison a first for Corrections

16 March 2022
AKL Prison front of visitor arrivals Feature photo

In an exciting new Hōkai Rangi partnership, believed to be the first of its kind for Corrections, Ara Poutama Aotearoa and Waitematā District Health Board (WDHB) have agreed to a new prison-based programme for junior doctors.

Thanks to our Northern Regional Operations Director Health, Debbie Hogan’s excellent relationship with Waitematā DHB, the initiative took shape in February when a junior doctor started work as a house officer at Auckland Prison,” says Northern Regional Commissioner Lynette Cave.

“This is a ground-breaking initiative and our hope is that we’d be able to extend this across other prisons within the Northern Region and our other three regions to continue enhancing healthcare delivery for people in prison.”

Debbie says the house officers will gain experience in multiple areas, particularly for people with issues of high complexity, including mental illness, and acute and chronic disease management.

“The experience may also assist house officers in making informed decisions about a future career in primary or community health with a focus on underserved populations, such as the men and women in prison,” says Debbie.

Waitematā DHB serves Auckland Prison, but up until now only experienced doctors have provided care for people in prison. Nurses have also had training experience at Auckland Prison for some time.

Doctors complete a six-year under-graduate degree before becoming newly qualified house officers. During the first few years of their careers, they work on 13-week rotations in many different areas of health care.

House officers taking part in the new prison training role will be in their second year following graduation and new placements at the prison also will occur every 13 weeks.

Auckland Prison’s first new junior doctor, is Doctor William (Jong-Kuan) Hung. He shares more about his experience at Auckland Prison.

“My job as a house officer in Auckland Prison has been a rewarding experience so far. Working in prison often reminds me of working in primary care: patients book an appointment, receive triage by nurses, and subsequently book a time slot in one of our clinics.

“All the technicalities and administration aside, the most striking difference for me is probably how I must drive between different prison units, purely due to the size of the facility. Unlike a hospital, not every building is within walking distance,” says Doctor Hung.

“When I first came on-site, I was quite surprised by how different the work environment is compared to a hospital, with the layers of security checks. But, once inside the prison, I am always welcomed by a friendly, but resilient group of staff, all of whom strive to ensure I am well supported, informed, and protected.”

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Debbie Hogan Junior Doctor v2

Northern Regional Operations Director for Health Debbie Hogan.

Doctor William Jong Kuan Hung Junior Doctor Thumbnail v2

Auckland Prison’s first new junior doctor is Doctor William (Jong-Kuan) Hung.