Monday, January 13, 2014

Evidence base for needle and syringe program at the Alexander Maconochie Centre

Last week John Didlick, Executive Officer of Hepatitis ACT shared a series of links to articles and an interview on the evidence base for needle and syringe program at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. The evidence is compelling.

There is a 10 minute 2CC interview with David McDonald (ANU Fellow and Director of Social Research and Evaluation).

Mr McDonald presents an evidence-based assessment of the merits of a regulated prison-based needle and syringe exchange program at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. Key points include:
·      Safety for prison staff, prisoners, and their families is a key consideration. 
 ·    A strong evidence base demonstrates that regulated prison-based needle and syringe exchange programs make prisons safer.
·      The benefits of regulated prison NSP outweigh any negative consequences.
·      Regulated prison NSPs:
o   reduce transmission of Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs)
o   reduce overdose deaths
o   help create better relationships between staff and detainees
o   lead to an increase in assessment and treatment of drug related problems, and
o   are not associated with increased drug use or drug supply.
·     Needle stick injuries are a key concern for staff currently. Regulated NSPs reduce that danger and have been associated with zero incidents of regulated equipment being used as a weapon.
·     In existing programs overseas, prison staff are supportive of regulated NSPs after initial hesitance and concerns.

A Canberra Times article  flagged the frustrations of public health advocates and the CPSU at apparent slow progress.

Another Canberra Times article  highlighted an increase in contraband (including drugs and drug  paraphernalia), potentially associated with a surge in detainee numbers.

John says:

Until a much needed NSP and tattooing program are realities at the AMC, a larger population and the associated interdiction challenges increase the need for interventions that can prevent and reduce the transmission of blood borne viruses. These must also include consistent, appropriate and discreet access to full-strength household bleach.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Position Vacant: Policy Officer

Position Vacant:
Policy Officer (SCHADS Level 6)

The Health Care Consumers’ Association (HCCA) is seeking a highly motivated and organised individual to join us as our Policy Officer.

Do you have a positive attitude and like to work in a small and energetic team? Are you a creative thinker and have an understanding of politics and the public policy process? Are you keen to work with consumers to bring about systemic change and improve the quality and safety of health services? Do you want to make a difference to the Canberra community?

We are looking for someone who can work with consumers and community groups to further consumer involvement in decisions regarding the quality and safety of health services. You will need to have experience in policy development and advocacy and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

This is a full time position but there is potential to negotiate on hours. HCCA promotes a healthy work-life balance and is committed to offering employees a supportive family friendly working environment. This is a contract until 30 June 2016, in line with our Service Funding Agreement with the ACT Government. Other conditions of employment will be based on the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award 2010 (SCHADS).

All applications must include:
1. A covering letter stating your intention to apply for the position and addressing the selection criteria listed below.
2. A current CV.
3. Information for two Referees. (Name, Title and Organisation, Relationship to applicant, contact telephone, contact email address)

Applications close at 2pm on Monday 3 February 2014. They can be submitted in hard copy or via email. They need to be addressed to:
Darlene Cox, Executive Director, 

100 Maitland St, Hackett ACT 2602

Selection Criteria are online on