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Determining local service levels for needle and syringe programmes

Benchmark for a standard population

Commissioners should ensure that services aim to increase the proportion of people who have over 100% ‘coverage' (that is, the proportion who have more than one sterile needle and syringe available for every injection) and increase the proportion of people from each group of injecting drug users who are in contact with NSPs.

The indicative benchmark rate for needle and syringe programmes (NSPs) is therefore, individual ‘coverage' of over 100% (that is, each individual having more than one sterile needle and syringe available for every injection).

For a population of 100,000 the average number of needles and syringes distributed would be at least 85,000 per year (to provide each individual with over 100% coverage). This is based on the assumption that each person who injects drugs accesses an NSP either directly or indirectly. Currently 90% of people who inject drugs may access NSPs in a given year. The proportion who routinely access an NSP is likely to be much lower. We have used the assumption of 100% since it reflects optimal service provision (complete coverage for a given population). Examine the remaining assumptions used in estimating these figures.

This service is likely to be funded by the pooled treatment budget and/or fall under the programme budgeting category 205A mental health disorders - substance misuse.

Use the NSP commissioning and benchmarking tool to determine the level of service that might be needed locally and to calculate the cost of commissioning the service using the indicative benchmark and/or your own local data.

Further information

Sources of further information to help you in assessing local health needs and reducing health inequalities include:

This page was last updated: 02 March 2012

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Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.