In 2017 Dr Kirkland exposed poor healthcare in police custody in England and Wales. Experts claimed this had harmed patients and resulted in preventable deaths. Doctors said the standard of treatment had rapidly declined and had left people at high risk.

In 2016, a move to transfer commissioning and funding decisions from the police and crime commissioners to the NHS was overturned by then Home Secretary, Theresa May. The Home Office told Dr Kirkland commissioners knew how best to prioritise resources. Critics said the decision was to cut costs and had led to preventable deaths.