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New project to reduce harm from bacterial infections among people who inject drugs in Bristol

19 February 2019

A new project to reduce harm from invasive bacterial infections among people who inject drugs in and around Bristol has been launched as part of the ‘Design in the Public Sector’ programme delivered by the Design Council and funded by the Local Government Association

Needle and drugs

A team comprising representatives from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset (BNSSG), Bristol City Council, Bristol Drugs Project, the University of Bristol and Public Health England are leading the project. 

Invasive bacterial infections, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), can cause skin and soft-tissue, bone and joint, and lung and bloodstream infections when they enter the body, resulting in illness and death.

The risk of invasive bacterial infection is a result of a complex web of interacting factors and no single intervention has been shown to be effective. The project aims to take a novel approach, by using design principles, to solve this problem.

Preventing such infections would prevent harm and improve health outcomes among people who inject drugs, as well as preventing onward transmission, addressing inequalities, and giving rise to substantial savings across health and social care.

The team would like to engage with stakeholders locally, regionally and nationally and are encouraging anyone who is interested in commenting on or contributing to the project to get in touch. You can also sign up to a monthly update to keep up with the project’s progress. Contact: georgie.macarthur@bristol.gov.uk.

Dr Jo Kesten, from the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions at the University of Bristol, and a member of the project team, said “This is a complex public health problem for which there is no clear evidence of effective interventions. We are hopeful that taking a design approach and involving a range of stakeholders, including people who inject drugs, will lead to new ways to tackle this problem.”