FINDINGS PART 1: NEEDLE EXCHANGE SERVICE DELIVERY AND ACTIVITY
Chapter 3: Mapping needle exchange provision
Headlines from this chapter
- This study identified 188 needle exchange outlets in Scotland:
- 136 pharmacy exchanges
- 43 specialist needle exchanges, of which half offered mobile / outreach services
- 6 police custody suite exchanges
- 3 exchanges based in hospital A&E or Emergency Care Units
- Some form of needle exchange was available in all DAT areas of Scotland.
- Just under one-quarter of needle exchanges were provided by specialist services. Half of these specialist services also delivered needle exchange through a mobile or outreach service.
- Across the whole of Scotland, pharmacy exchanges outnumbered specialist services by a ratio of nearly 3:1.
This section addresses the first aim of the study, which was to map needle exchange service provision in Scotland. Information about the number of services, and their locations are presented.
This study identified 188 needle exchange outlets in Scotland. These included:
- 136 pharmacy exchanges
- 43 specialist needle exchanges, of which 22 offered mobile / outreach services 7
- 6 police custody suite needle exchanges
- 3 based in hospital A&E or Emergency Care Units
Table 3.1 on the next page shows that some form of needle exchange was available in all DAT areas of Scotland - either through specialist services, pharmacy services or both. However, it should be noted that the services in Orkney and the Western Isles had not been used in the period April 2004 - March 2005.
It is also worth noting that, at the time of this study, a number of DATs were attempting to expand pharmacy provision in their area, and therefore, the total number of needle exchange outlets in Scotland may now be slightly higher.
Just under one-quarter (22.9%) of needle exchanges in Scotland were provided by specialist services. In addition, half of these specialist services delivered needle exchange through mobile / outreach services. Mobile / outreach services were usually provided by agencies which also had a fixed base site. Just over half of specialist services (n=24) were located within a wider drug treatment service.
Table 3.1: Number of needle exchange services, by NHS Board and DAT area
NHS Board / DAT
(mobile / outreach services)
Police custody suite exchanges
Hospital A&E exchanges
Argyll & Clyde
Ayrshire & Arran
Dumfries & Galloway
Perth & Kinross
Specialist needle exchange services were not located in all DAT areas. However this is not to say that these areas did not have access to a specialist service. Neither East Lothian nor West Lothian DATs had their own specialist services, but both areas benefited from outreach services based in neighbouring Edinburgh City and Midlothian.
Most DAT areas had access to needle exchange provided through a mobile or outreach service. Edinburgh City had the largest number of outreach services. Three of the seven services based in Edinburgh offered some form of mobile or outreach provision.
Pharmacy needle exchanges existed in all but one DAT area. Only the Western Isles had no pharmacy exchange scheme.
Police custody suite exchanges were reported in Fife, Forth Valley (Central Scotland Police), Grampian, Lanarkshire, Lothian and Tayside.
Needle exchanges were based in hospital A&E departments in Highland and Lanarkshire.
In general, at the level of the DAT, pharmacy exchanges outnumbered specialist services. The exceptions to this rule were in Argyll & Clyde and Aberdeenshire. Across Scotland, pharmacy exchanges outnumbered specialist services by a ratio of nearly 3:1. This ratio varied considerably between DATs, with Forth Valley having 14 and Glasgow having 8.6 pharmacy exchanges for every one specialist service - whereas numbers in Edinburgh and Argyll & Clyde were more even.