Austria - Healthcare



Detention issue


FRA research findings

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Legal instruments & key provisions

Legal instrument Key provision
Code of Conduct for Detention (Anhalteordnung) Necessary medical care for prisoners has to be provided by medical officers (Amtsärzte) or by other precaution (Vorsorge) by making sure that a doctor can intervene without unnecessary delay. In minor cases paramedics may take care of prisoners. Prisoners are free to consult a doctor of their choice on their own costs. Those consultations have to take place in the cell.
Penal Code (Strafvollzugsgesetz) The health status of inmates and their weight are to be monitored. In case of illness, accident, suicide attempt or other self harm the prison doctor has to be informed and has to treat the inmate or transfer her/him to special doctors. Prisoners have to be granted the necessary dental treatments. Dentures are only provided on the own costs of the inmate.


Year Recommendation Report
2015 It must be guaranteed that the medical care of detainees is on the same level as that of persons who are at liberty. The NPM considers it necessary to hire additional medical personnel, particularly for the purpose of psychiatric care in the out-patient clinic of the Stein correctional institution. Regular visitations shall help to prevent bodily and mental neglect of long-term prisoners. It was demanded that, if it was absolutely necessary to have a prison guard present during the examination of a detainee, he or she should be a person of the same gender. Under which circumstances it is absolutely necessary to have a guard present during a medical treatment (in the room at the correctional institution provided for this purpose) is still left open. Moreover, the NPM emphasises that placebo medication can only be tolerated if the patient is informed. A clear definition of the term “fitness to undergo detention” should be provided in the Code of Conduct for Detention. Particular sensitivity should be used in determining whether a person is unfit to undergo detention due to mental impairment. Police physicians should always be able to correctly assess the need for specialised treatment of detained persons based on the situation and to quickly access psychiatric expertise, if necessary, regardless of the day of the week and the time of day. The development of criteria for the medically necessary transfer of such persons to specialised clinics instead of their placement in specially secured cells could minimise the risk of jeopardising the health of this particularly vulnerable group of persons by making a bad decision. Police doctors shall inform persons, who are not able to stay in prison, prior to leaving the prison about medical measures and possibilities to allow for later care for the person. Report details