Lead: Mrs Sonya Johnston-Team Lead & Substitute Prescribing Practitioner, Community Addictions Team. Ards Hospital
Work stream aim:
To reduce the transmission of Hep B & C (HBV & HCV) infection among injecting drug users by promoting routine and low threshold testing for Hep B & C infection among injecting drug users, and exploring best practice models for engaging and retaining injecting drug users in HBV & HCV treatment.
- To identify potential areas of development that will assist in reducing HBV and HCV transmission among injecting drug users in NI;
- To identify best practice models for reducing the transmission of HBV and HCV among injecting drug users;
- To liaise with diagnostic and treatment services to develop an agreed best model of partnership working that may encourage patients with hepatitis and /or C to be tested and remain engaged in specialist assessment and treatment;
- To identify potential barriers for those injecting drug users with hepatitis B and /or C who are not engaging in treatment;
- Continue to promote the use of harm reduction services throughout NI including the Prison service to assist in reducing the transmission of blood borne pathogens.
- To promote the uptake of the newly introduced HPA UK anonymous blood spot survey among injecting drug users and promote the use of this surveillance tool in services working with injecting drug users.
- To encourage injecting drug users to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B (HBV)
- Co-ordinate an audit of Hep B vaccination rates in addiction treatment services in NI.
- To introduce dried blood spot testing in drug services to allow for testing of clients with poor venous access.
- To implement a Northern Ireland wide PGD for hepatitis A and B vaccination to facilitate vaccination in addiction services.
Each of the four Northern Ireland Drug and Alcohol Coordination Teams (DACTs) has produced a directory of services available in their area.