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Sydney Local Health District Statement on Installation

The following statement was released by Dr Teresa Anderson, Chief Executive of Sydney Local Health District (SLHD), on 5 February 2013 to the South Sydney Herald (SSH). SSH requested a statement when the Automatic Syringe Dispensing Machine was installed as this had not been “disclosed at last week’s meeting”. This was the position taken in the print issue of SSH which went to press before the statement below was received. The statement below claims that “the decision to install the machine was announced at a public meeting in Redfern on January 29”. The SSH writer who was at the meeting has subsequently checked with four other meeting attendees with different views on the proposal. They all left with the impression that SLHD looked set to press ahead but none recalled a specific announcement and certainly no reference to an installation date within the week reports South Sydney Herald online on 6 February 2013.

Redfern Automatic Syringe Dispensing Machine

Sydney Local Health District has proceeded with plans to install an automatic syringe dispensing machine outside the Redfern Community Health Centre in a bid to combat unacceptably high levels of HIV and hepatitis C infections among injecting drug users in the Redfern area.

The decision to install the machine was announced at a public meeting in Redfern on January 29, following 20 consultations in 10 months with residents and stakeholders.

The decision was made because Redfern has one of the highest rates of HIV and hepatitis C in Australia, due to high levels of injecting drug activity.

HIV rates among injecting drugs users in the area are three times the national rate, and hepatitis C rates are 10 per cent higher than anywhere else in Australia. This is a major public health crisis and cannot be ignored.

Redfern is not being singled out as there are already more than 150 ADMs operating across NSW.

ADMs have been used in Australia for more than 25 years as part of a highly effective, multi-pronged state and national initiative to reduce HIV and hepatitis C infection rates among injecting drug users.

We listened to the community’s concerns regarding the installation of this machine and we acted on community suggestions to install an additional ADM at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and employ a harm minimisation officer for residents in the Redfern-Waterloo area.

We also established a human services group, involving NSW Health, senior police, Housing, Family and Community Services and others, to meet monthly to address Redfern’s complex social, drug and welfare issues.

However, despite extensive consultation, it remained clear that we have no option but to proceed with the installation of an ADM at the Redfern Community Health Centre before more lives are lost as we have a statutory obligation to address this major public health issue.

CCTV and additional lighting have already been installed and the ADM and disposal bin are expected to be operational this week.

Chief Executive of Sydney Local Health District, Dr Teresa Anderson.

Also see SSH initial article  Dispensing information, while pushing ahead



Source: www.southsydneyherald.com.au/sydney-local-health-district-statement-on-installation/#.URGfJWciuN4