National Poisons Information Service

A service commissioned by Public Health England




Members of the public

seeking specific

information on poisons

should contact:


In England and Wales:

NHS 111 - dial 111


In Scotland:

NHS 24 - dial 111


In N Ireland:

Contact your local GP or

pharmacist during

normal hours; click here

(www.gpoutofhours for GP

services Out-of-Hours.


In Republic of Ireland:

01 809 2166



professionals seeking

poisons information

should consult:

NPIS Annual Report 2016-2017 - released 7th September 2017

The National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) is the UK Departments of Health approved, and Public Health England commissioned, national service that provides expert advice on all aspects of acute and chronic poisoning.


The role of the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) is to reduce the burden of healthcare associated with poisoning by the provision of rapidly available, consistent and evidence-based advice to front-line NHS healthcare professionals. The purpose of this advice is to facilitate optimal clinical management of patients with confirmed or suspected poisoning and those who are (or may be) exposed to medicines or other potential poisons during pregnancy. Where toxicity is low, NPIS offers advice to minimise unnecessary hospital attendances and admissions.


The service comprises four individual Units, based in Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Newcastle. Each Unit is staffed by Consultant Clinical Toxicologists and Specialists in Poisons Information who work together to provide a seamless national service that has been established for 50 years.


The National Poisons Information Service is the service to which frontline NHS staff turn for advice on the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients who have been - or may have been - poisoned, either by accident or intentionally.


NPIS is funded mainly through ‘Government Grant in Aid’ from the UK Health Departments, some contract income and some research income.


From the Foreword of the NPIS Annual Report 2016-17

The NPIS strives to ensure that information on TOXBASE is accurate, up to date and evidence-based. We aim to improve the quality of care for patients admitted to hospital. For many others, the NPIS is able to provide reassurance that the exposure is unlikely to cause adverse health effects, avoiding the need for hospital referral or admission for tens of thousands of patients every year and reducing the workloads of general practitioners and emergency departments in particular.


A study performed recently, described in this year’s annual report, has demonstrated that the cost savings from preventing unnecessary emergency department referrals alone are greater than the overall costs of commissioning NPIS.


The NPIS continues to receive outstanding responses to user satisfaction surveys, an achievement that all our staff can be proud of. The challenge will be to maintain the quality of our services in the face of the constrained resources we can anticipate in the future.


Simon Thomas

Chair NPIS Clinical Standards Group


Raquel Duarte-Davidson

Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, Public Health England



The National Poisons Information Service does not accept enquiries from the public but supports NHS 111 and NHS24 to answer such queries.