Person holding syringe

Return of Patient Sharp Boxes (NHS)

What does the service provide?

If you have been prescribed a medication or appliance that uses a sharp point, then you will be provided with a personal sharp box for home use. Disposing of your used needles and syringes in a safe location, for example, a sharp box reduces you and your family’s chances of contracting deadly viruses and diseases.

What is a sharps bin?

Sharps bins are secure containers that are specially designed to make disposing of used instruments safer. Sharps is a term to describe medical devices that share a common element – a sharp end or surface that can pierce the skin and allow contaminated blood or other bodily fluid in. Some examples of sharps are:

  • Hypodermic and infusion needle
  • Syringe
  • Blood lancet (common as part of a diabetes kit)
  • Epinephrine auto-injector (or EpiPen)

How to use your sharps bin effectively:

After you have used any medical instrument that has entered your bloodstream, it is important that you place them in the sharps bin provided immediately. Ensure you store the sharps bin in a high and secure location anyway from food and children. This limits the spreading of infection and disease. Please do not place any used needles or syringes into a household bin or other plastic container as they will end up in general waste areas making disposal impossible.

If you have accidentally placed a clean needle in the sharps bin, do not attempt to retrieve it from the box as this can be an easy way to spread the disease further.

Each sharps bin you are given has a clear fill line marked by a black, dotted line. Sharps bins are usually used for over 3 months. Do not fill past the marked line. If you fill the sharps bin before your prescription period ends, then you can arrange for it to be collected by your local council or as part of the pharmacy service.

What infections could be caught if a sharps bin wasn’t used?

Most diseases and injections caught from needles and syringes are blood-borne which means they are contracted by the blood to blood contact you’d expect from the instruments being used. Common diseases that can be contracted are:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

What we will do to help:

At Imaan Healthcare pharmacies, you can return your patient sharps bin. The opening in the sharps bin must be permanently closed. We will take the contents off your hands and send it away for treatment and supervised disposal.