Humankind launches new minimum standards for needle exchanges and harm reduction services

Ellie Lambert

A woman working as a health care provider.

This week we issued a new set of standards for needle and syringe provision across all the organisation’s substance misuse facilities.

The minimum standards will ensure full and equitable reach of comprehensive harm reduction services to all who use substances. The standards 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.

Speaking about the new guidelines, Stacey Smith, Director of Nursing at Humankind, said: “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.

“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”, Smith added.

The new standards are intended to improve equitable access to needle and syringe provision and reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by people who use substances.

The new guidelines have been welcomed by others working in the sector. “I am delighted to see drive to improve the care we offer to some of our most vulnerable members of society”, said Professor Graham Foster, Professor of Hepatology at Queen Mary University of London and National Clinical Chair for the Hepatitis C Delivery Networks.

“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”, Foster added.

The needle and syringe provision standards can be downloaded here.

A woman working as a health care provider.
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