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Guild pleased with DHB funded sharps disposal initiatives

15 April 2016

Guild pleased with DHB funded sharps disposal initiatives

The Pharmacy Guild of New Zealand (the Guild) is pleased that a handful of District Health Boards (DHBs) are now providing funded sharps disposal services via community pharmacies.

Southern DHB is the latest DHB to jump on board, announcing in early April that a fully subsidised sharps disposal service would be available to all patients in the Southern District.

Interwaste will be supplying pharmacies in the Southern DHB region with 1.4L screw lid sharps containers to give to patients for the safe containment, collection and disposal of their sharps.

Other DHBs providing a similar service include South Canterbury, Bay of Plenty, Capital & Coast, and MidCentral DHB.

Guild Chief Executive, Lee Hohaia says “We are pleased to see these DHBs taking the risk posed to patients and communities from the incorrect disposal of sharps seriously, and taking the initiative to fund safe sharps disposal services in their regions.

“We hope that DHBs will also consider funding community pharmacy to provide this patient centric service, as they currently do this work for free. Consideration needs to be given to the involvement community pharmacy has in coordinating and informing patients about these services and the safe disposal of needles, as well as to how they are expected to store the disposal bins.

“Community pharmacy, as the health professional seen most often, is ideally placed to provide education and information to patients using injectable medicines about the safe and correct way to dispose of their used needles.

“In the absence of a funded disposal service, sharps have been found to be disposed of in all sorts of potentially harmful ways. Both the public and the environment are at risk when needles are disposed of with general household waste which can pose the risk of needle-stick injuries, or when needles are disposed of down sinks and drains where they can end up in waterways and ultimately, in the water that we drink.

“The Guild continues to advocate for a nationally funded pharmaceutical waste management system which includes the safe disposal of sharps. We hope that other DHBs will also consider allocating funding for similar initiatives in their regions to help keep their communities healthy and safe.”

ENDS

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