National Poisons Information Service

The National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) is commissioned to provide information and advice for NHS health professionals to support the management of patients with suspected poisoning. The NPIS annual report reveals that approximately 170,000 people are admitted to UK hospitals each year with suspected poisoning. Many more are discharged from emergency departments or managed in primary care, including by NHS advice services such as NHS 111 and NHS 24.

The NPIS consists of four units based in Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Newcastle, each led by a consultant clinical pharmacologist. It provides information and evidence-based management advice via a 24-hour telephone service and online database TOXBASE®. The NPIS handles around 50,000 telephone enquiries and TOXBASE® is accessed over 1.5 million times each year. Information is provided by information scientists supported by an on-call rota of clinical toxicologists experienced in CPT. This expertise avoids unnecessary hospital referrals and admissions for patients at low risk of harm, while improving quality of treatment and shortening hospital stay for those with clinical toxicity. The NPIS also incorporates the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS), the national source of information and advice about exposure to drugs and chemicals during pregnancy.

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