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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4110..


Sharps hotline

(Question No 957)

Mr Smyth

asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

In relation to the Sharps Hotline:

On average, how many calls does the Sharps Hotline receive on a monthly basis;

What are the majority of calls in relation to;

On average, how many sharps disposal containers are distributed per month;

On average, how many sharps disposal containers are returned to drop off points per month;

If there is a discrepancy in the figures between (3) and (4) are there any concerns that sharps disposal containers are ending up in general rubbish;

How many needle stick injuries were officially recorded in (a) 2000-01 (b) 2001-02 (c) 2002-03 and (d) to date in 2003-04.

Mr Corbell

: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

In relation to the Sharps Hotline:

In 2002-2003 the Sharps Hotline received 523 calls, averaging 44 per month.

The majority of calls are requesting collection of syringes and related materials which have been left on public land or private premises;

The Sharps Hotline is not involved in the distribution or collection of sharps disposal containers. This service operates through the needle and syringe program. The following table summarises the number of sharps disposal containers distributed per month through the needle and syringe program;

Year

Large Bins

Pack Bins

20 litre

35 litre

7.8 litre

2.8 litre

1.4 litre

.5 litre

Waste Bag

2000-

2001

34

12

58

353

917

72,232

98

2001-

2002

48

-

47

384

870

54,375

4

2002-

2003

45

-

12

495

1,062

61,331

-

needles, syringes and sharps disposal containers are mostly collected through the big bins located around Canberra. Material deposited in these bins is weighed rather than counted to minimize the risk of needlestick injury. Accordingly it is not possible to give a precise number of how many sharps disposal containers are returned;

See (4) The weight of material returned is greater than the amount of material given out. This is because a number of community users of needles, syringes and other sharp clinical waste use the big bins for disposal of material they sourced from outside the needle and syringe program;


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