Sharps bin decision soon

A MOTHER’S insistence for a sharps disposal bin to be relocated away from a Toormina preschool is being weighed up against the public convenience of the service.

Distressed mother Michelle Egan went public this week calling for the used needle bin in the Centro Toormina carpark to be moved.

Her desperate plea was made after her son Max, 5, suffered a needle stick injury in a nearby preschool playground.

The sharps bin in question is roughly 20 metres from the back fence of the community day care centre, on the other side of a creek.

While it offers a safe disposal point for syringes and needles it is also close to a preschool, local library and scout hall.

But it is still yet to be determined if there’s a link to Monday’s incident.

Community Services, Coffs Harbour City Council, and the North Coast Public Health Unit are looking into the incident, investigating whether there’s a public safety issue.

Since the toddler pricked his finger on the cannula needle, other concerns have been raised about sharps being left near the bin.

The area manager of HIV programs, Jenny Heslop told the ABC it’s alarming the sharp was found in a children’s playground, but moving the bin may confuse people who use it responsibly.

“The bin is within the distance guidelines . . . ultimately it is up to council to decide whether it is moved or not,” Ms Heslop said.

The council has confirmed it is discussing the issue with the NSW Public Health Unit.

Since having her son tested for infection, Michelle Egan has lodged a formal complaint.

“It’s too much of a coincidence for these incidents not to be related,” Mrs Egan said.

“I believe there’s an obvious link the needle turned up in the playground which is just metres from the used needle bin. It can clearly be seen from the playground.

“I understand responsible people use the bin, but this is a public safety issue,” she said.

NSW Community Services Minister Linda Burney said she sympathised with the children’s parents and an investigation is under way.

In the Coffs Harbour area there are four sharps disposal bins at Centro Toormina, Park Avenue Lane, the England’s Road Waste Facility and in Market Street, Woolgoolga.

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