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AH3.2014 Supply injecting and other relevant equipment to individuals who use substances and facilitate safe disposal


This standard covers establishing the extent and type of individuals' injecting behaviour, providing harm reduction advice, providing equipment to reduce drug related harm, providing injecting equipment and facilitating the safe disposal of used equipment. You also need to maintain records of the supply and safe disposal of injecting and other relevant equipment in order to monitor and evaluate the service. This standard relates to substances which may include prescription and over-the-counter medicines, controlled or currently legal drugs, and new psychoactive substances. Users of this standard will need to ensure that practice reflects up to date information and policies. Version No 2

Knowledge and Understanding

You will need to know and understand:
  1. legal, organisational and policy requirements relevant to your role and the activities being carried out
  2. policy guidelines and legislation for needle exchange, including exchange for under-16s
  3. health and safety legislation relevant to transportation and storage of used injecting equipment
  4. the principle of confidentiality and the implications for your practice
  5. your responsibility and accountability for the wellbeing of individuals
  6. local systems, procedures and protocols for safeguarding children and young people
  7. how to recognise the signs of injury, abuse or neglect in the individual and how to raise concerns with the appropriate person or agency
  8. how age, gender, cultural and social background, including the choice of substance being used can affect the working relationship
  9. legal obligations and local policies regarding service provision for children and young people
  10. organisational policies and procedures for supply and exchange of injecting and other relevant equipment
  11. how to adapt communication styles in ways which meet the individual's needs, strengths and capabilities
  12. how to carry out a basic health assessment and respond appropriately
  13. potential benefits of brief interventions and how to deliver them in this environment
  14. complaints and appeals procedures which individuals can utilise
  15. the range of substance use services offered by your organisation and other organisations, including peer support
  16. the range of injecting equipment used by individuals who inject substances
  17. the importance of keeping full and accurate records, and how to do so
  18. the range of possible behaviours from substance users, and how to manage these
  19. the risks and implications associated with various methods of substance use
  20. how to recognise and deal with immediate risk of danger to individuals who have used substances
  21. the harm reduction advice appropriate to all injecting substance use
  22. the health risks associated with used needles and other equipment
  23. how to dispose of needles and other relevant equipment safely
  24. potential blood borne viruses and routes of transmission
  25. the importance of testing for blood borne viruses and the availability of treatment
  26. how to provide health advice and support to users of the service
  27. how to provide safe sex and contraception advice to individuals
  28. what to do in the event of a needle stick injury occurring
  29. what constitutes adequate stocks of injecting and other relevant equipment for the individual substance user
  30. how to ensure your personal health and safety
  31. how to recognise if services are not meeting an individual's needs
  32. the principles of equality, diversity and anti-discriminatory practice and how they are applied

Performance Criteria

You must be able to do the following:
  1. establish whether the individual is injecting and the frequency of injecting, nature of the substance and environment in which they are injecting
  2. establish whether a needle exchange service can be provided for the individual in line with local policy
  3. carry out a basic health assessment with the individual concerning the impact of their substance use
  4. provide advice on safe or safer injecting techniques and sites
  5. provide relevant and timely advice on harm reduction, risk of infection, primary health and safer sex
  6. provide advice and resources for safe storage and disposal of needles and other relevant equipment
  7. refer individuals to other services according to identified need
  8. liaise with providers of other services in line with policies and protocols
  9. check that adequate stocks of equipment are maintained
  10. check that any injecting and other relevant equipment is stored safely and securely
  11. dispense equipment to individuals in line with the assessment of their needs
  12. demonstrate safe handling of dispensed equipment
  13. carry out the exchange process discreetly and give out equipment in a dispensing bag to maintain confidentiality
  14. carry out correct practices for dealing with returned equipment
  15. check that sharps bins are correctly assembled and never over-filled
  16. adhere to your organisations' needle and equipment exchange policies and procedures
  17. deal with any spillages and discarded needles and syringes using the appropriate materials
  18. maintain records of equipment supply and exchange in line with organisational procedures
  19. maintain confidentiality in all matters relating to individuals using the exchange scheme

Additional Information

This National Occupational Standard was developed by Skills for Health.This standard links with the following dimension within the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (October 2004): Dimension: HWB4 Enablement to address health and wellbeing needs
AH3.2014 Supply injecting and other relevant equipment to individuals who use substances and facilitate safe disposal
Final version approved February 2014 © copyright Skills For Health,
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