In June 2004, the Department of Health and Ageing embarked upon a procurement process to engage "a suitably qualified consultant to undertake a National Audit of Community Needle and Syringe Disposal Facilities" as a component of the Retractable Needle and Syringe Technology Initiative.1

The Statement of Requirement identified that the Audit was to "identify gaps in disposal strategies and/or sharps management processes and enhance government's capacity to address inappropriate disposal of needles and syringes in the community". The objectives of the Audit were to:

  • Identify the numbers, availability and accessibility of all needle and syringe distribution outlets:

  • Identify the types of disposal facilities and their suitability for all types of needles and syringes in the community including those used by illicit injecting drug users, people with diabetes and other medical syringe users;

  • Identify areas with high levels of inappropriately discarded injecting equipment and equipment distribution outlets;

  • Identify the issues surrounding inappropriate disposal of injecting equipment in the community disposal of needles; and

  • Provide a national map of all community needle and syringe disposal facilities.
Waste Audit and Consultancy Services (Aust) Pty Ltd was subsequently appointed to undertake the National Audit. The draft report of the study was submitted in May 2005.

The Service Schedule for the Contract for Service described the project in slightly different terms than the original brief. The Schedule identified that Waste Audit and Consultancy Services was to provide the following services:
  • Identify the number, type, location and accessibility of needle and syringe distribution outlets.

  • Identify the number, type, location and servicing regimes for needle and syringe collection points (both staffed and unstaffed). The information to be provided must include, but not limited to, the following:

    • Type: Needle/syringe/sharp. Textual information type.

    • Quantity: At site, feature or location. Numeric information type. Top of page

    • Materials: Details of discarded materials. Textual information type.

    • Facility: Public/private (toilet, bin etc). Textual information type.

    • Asset No.: Facility no. (where available). Textual information type.

    • Location: Spatial X, Y (not projection). Numeric (x2) information type.

    • Address: Street address. Textual information type.

    • Local Gov.: Shire (LGA). Textual information type.

    • Disposal: Discarded/disposed properly etc. Textual information type.

    • Access: Details relating to accessibility. Textual information type.

    • Distribution: Relationship sharps vs. disposal. Textual information type.

    • Maintained: By local gov./private. Textual information type.

    • Action plan: Community sharps program? Textual information type.

    • Distribution: Relationship sharps vs. disposal. Textual information type.

  • For both objectives identified above, determine the type of clientele utilising the services offered.

  • Determine current strategies for managing community needle and syringe disposal by all stakeholders including states and territories, local governments, pharmacies and waste contractors.

  • Determine the effectiveness of these strategies and identify gaps in meeting both regulatory and community expectations for the disposal of needles and syringes.

  • Map locations, incidents/numbers and types of inappropriate disposal of needles and syringes and determine management practices for these locations.

  • Ascertain the community concerns in respect to risk of injury from inappropriate needle and syringe disposal.

  • Determine the actual risks associated with both inappropriate and appropriate needle and syringe disposal.

Footnotes

1 Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (June 2004) "Request for Tender – National Audit of Community Needle and Syringe Disposal Facilities" (168/0304) p1.