Duties of a needle and syringe program (NSP) coordinator

Each NSP must nominate a coordinator. The Medicines and Poisons Regulations 2016 (external site) state that to be eligible for consideration as an NSP coordinator a person must be:

  • of good character and repute
  • recognised as a fit and proper person to manage the NSP
  • over 18 years of age
  • and must understand their duties as the coordinator of the program.

 In summary, an NSP coordinator is required to:

  • maintain a register of all persons engaged in the conduct of the program (that is staff and/or volunteers operating the program)
  • ensure that persons who engaged in the conduct of the program understand the regulations and are appropriately instructed and trained
  • report any irregularities in the program
  • submit an NSP Annual Report on the program by a specified date.

The duties of the coordinator of a needle and syringe program (NSP) are listed in Regulation 110 of the Medicines and Poisons Regulations 2016.

An NSP information pack produced by Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program (SHBBVP), Western Australian Department of Health will be supplied to the NSP coordinator and can be used to distribute information to NSP staff and clients as appropriate. It is also recommended that all staff working at the NSP complete the NSP Online Orientation and Training Package (external site).

Knowledge and understanding of this information will, in most circumstances, be adequate in the first instance to meet the instruction and training requirements of staff as specified in Regulation 110.

If at the time of application an NSP is assessed as having specific needs (for example training or referral resources) the SHBBVP, in consultation with the coordinator, can assist with meeting these needs.

NSP coordinator’s checklist

At the commencement of the program

  • Develop guidelines and policies for establishment of the NSP.
  • Develop reporting mechanisms for:
    • amount of injecting equipment distributed
    • accidents and incidents associated with the NSP.
  • Ensure adequate training and information is provided to NSP staff.
  • Recommend hepatitis B immunisation to all NSP staff.
  • Provide a list of suggested harm reduction brief intervention questions for NSP staff.
  • Provide a list of information and referral agencies for NSP staff.

Annual duties

Under the Medicines and Poisons Regulations 2016 it is a condition of any NSP approval that the NSP coordinator submits an annual report by a specified date. The annual report gives NSP coordinators an opportunity to raise issues and report on trends that have occurred throughout the year.

The NSP information pack contains a sample proforma annual report of the type that will be forwarded to all NSPs on a yearly basis.

The NSP annual report will be made available for completion online or can be completed and returned by email or mail. Please note that the questions may vary from year to year, so be sure to check that you are using the correct version. At the point when reports are required to be submitted, the SHBBVP will circulate details of this, so please ensure that you have provided up-to-date contact details of your current NSP coordinator.

Should you experience any problems in accessing the annual report, please phone the SHBBVP on 9222 2355 or email NSP@health.wa.gov.au.

Previous NSP annual reports

If changes occur within the program

Expiry of NSP approval date

When an NSP approval is due to expire, the SHBBVP will arrange for a new approval certificate to be issued.

NSP operational changes (e.g. change in location/conditions)

Make a written submission outlining the proposed changes to the existing NSP. Once approval has been granted, a new approval certificate will be issued.

Change of NSP staff categories (inclusion of volunteers/more staff)

Make a written submission outlining the proposed changes to the existing NSP. Once approval has been granted, a new approval certificate will be issued.

Change of NSP Coordinator

The employer or the coordinator should notify the SHBBVP in writing that there has been a change in coordinator, supplying the name of the replacement.

Other program changes

Any other changes to the program (for example changes in operating hours) have to be applied for in writing with reasons for seeking the changes stated and are subject to the approval of the SHBBVP.

More information

If you have any queries regarding the duties of an NSP coordinator please phone the Senior Policy Officer (NSP) at the Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program on 9222 2355 or email NSP@health.wa.gov.au

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Public Health