A new set of minimum standards for needle and syringe provision has been launched by Humankind.
The standards support compliance with existing regulation and national guidance, and are designed to ‘ensure full and equitable reach of comprehensive harm reduction services to all who use substances’ and to tackle stigma.
The standards cover issues like accessibility, confidentiality, safety and pathways to other services, and are part of a number of harm reduction initiatives that ‘support Humankind’s commitment to improving interactions with service users and helping to save lives’, the charity states.
‘I’m proud to say that our services already operate at a high standard, but we want to ensure that our needle and syringe provision are among the best in the sector,’ said Humankind’s director of nursing, Stacey Smith. ‘Sadly since the start of COVID we have seen a decline in the number of people accessing our needle and syringe programmes and we want to change this. These services play a crucial role in reducing drug-related deaths and reinfection rates for hepatitis C, providing the life-saving drug naloxone, and providing a route into treatment services. They also provide our staff and volunteers with the opportunity to connect people with housing, primary health and other specialist services.’
‘I am delighted to see drive to improve the care we offer to some of our most vulnerable members of society’, added professor of hepatology Queen Mary University of London and national clinical chair for the hepatitis C delivery networks, Graham Foster. ‘Preventing avoidable harms by high quality needle exchange is one of the most effective ways of improving health and reducing costs, and this initiative will help in our goals to build back better after the pandemic.’
Needle and syringe provision: minimum standards checklist at humankindcharity.org.uk