Research Article

National Poisons Information Services: report and comment 1980.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 16 May 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:1613
  1. G N Volans,
  2. G M Mitchell,
  3. A T Proudfoot,
  4. R G Shanks,
  5. J A Woodcock


    The National Poisons Information Services (NPIS) covering the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland currently receive over 40,000 telephone inquiries a year. Over the years there has been little change in the proportion of inquiries related to each of the main categories of poisons (drugs, household, chemical, agricultural, animals, and plants). More detailed analysis, however, shows pronounced changes in the inquiries relating to specific types of poisoning, particularly with drugs. By monitoring these trends and assessing the risks of toxicity, the NPIS has an important role in informing the medical profession of the need for preventive measures and for improved methods of treatment. At present, the NPIS cannot make full use of the available data due to inadequate staffing and lack of computer facilities. It is argued that for a modest increase in funding a much more comprehensive service could be provided.