An inspection of HMP and YOI Grampian has found the site lacks a controlled drug licence, despite being warned of the issue in a previous report.
The prison, based in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, was visited by HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland (HMIPS) in February 2019 and a serious shortage of healthcare staff was identified as a key area of concern.
Various aspects of the prison were rated, with the health and well-being category given a poor grading.
Inspectors returned to the jail in October, before the coronavirus pandemic, and said efforts have been made to strengthen and develop health service staffing.
However, they found there were still issues over its lack of drug licence, with further work also needed on the pharmacy service.
The report said: “Inspectors saw that progress had been made towards meeting many of the recommendations from the February 2019 inspection, such as the development of new processes and pathways of care, improved training and support for staff and recruitment and stabilising links with other services across the partnership.
“However, it was disappointing to find that securing a controlled drug licence remained outstanding from the original inspection and this was escalated for immediate action.
“In addition, considerable work was still required around improving the pharmacy service.
“Although it was encouraging that efforts had been made to recruit pharmacy staff, inspectors remained concerned by some of the medication management practices still in operation.
“This remains a key area for improvement.”
The HMIPS report was delivered by chief inspector of prisons for Scotland Wendy Sinclair-Gieben, with the report determining a further visit is to be made.
It added: “In general, inspectors found that the partnership was adopting a measured approach to service change, which was communicated to the Integration Joint Board who retained oversight, but further work is needed to address the recommendations made in this follow-up report.
“HMIPS with HIS will make a further visit to check on progress with addressing these recommendations.”
The prison opened in 2014 after a merger between HMP Aberdeen and HMP Peterhead, and is capable of housing more than 500 offenders.
A Scottish Prison Service spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Prison Service welcomes the publication of the follow-up inspection report of HMP Grampian.
“It is pleasing to note that the inspectors recognised that progress has been made in partnership with our healthcare colleagues to strengthen the delivery of healthcare in the establishment.”