A draft report by Medacs Forensic Services into healthcare provision for prisoners at Holloway was 'absolutely slamming'in its criticisms of attitudes towards sick women prisoners, according to Finola Farrant of the Prison Reform Trust. The document - seen by HSJ - was based on visits to the prison last August. It describes women with anorexia being sworn at and refused food supplements.

Nurses reacted towards the incoming prisoners in an 'openly hostile and verbally aggressive manner'. The report said that a 'high percentage'of the nurses did not adhere to UKCC requirements, and it had witnessed examples of abusive language, drugs being issued for which no prescription was in evidence and inmates being refused medication that had been prescribed for them.

The UKCC told HSJ that it had no record of any referrals last year of nurses from Holloway on disciplinary matters.

Lindsey Bates, nursing director for the prison healthcare taskforce, points to 'some changes'in nursing staff - but says 'it would not be appropriate to comment more than that'.

She says the problems raised by the Medacs report related to 'June and July last year'. Since then, 'there have been a number of significant changes', including re-profiling staff and redesigning healthcare.

The report, which was never made public, had failed to take into account needs assessment work at the prison by Camden and Islington HA, she adds.