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Only half of British acute care hospitals stock all essential antidotes to poisons, survey shows

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e5491 (Published 13 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5491
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

Only half of acute care hospitals in Britain stock all the antidotes that national guidance recommends as essential for immediate availability to treat life threatening poisoning incidents, a survey shows.1

Researchers found “substantial variation” when they surveyed all 224 acute care hospitals in England, Wales, and Scotland on their stocks of the 29 antidotes that national guidance recommends should be available at all hospitals treating serious cases of poisoning.2

Only half—100 of the 196 hospitals that responded—held all the 11 antidotes that the guidance says should be immediately available (category A antidotes).

Most hospitals (90%) stocked commonly used category A antidotes. These included acetylcysteine (for paracetamol overdose), activated charcoal (to treat a range of swallowed …

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