What impact we have
Public health impact
Poisoning is a major public health issue in the UK. Cases of poisoning account for around 170,000 NHS hospital admissions a year. One of the more common reasons for presentation at a hospital emergency department and for hospital admission, poisoning adds significantly to the workload of UK primary and secondary care services and NHS patient helplines.
Poisoning accounts for just under 1% of the total number of NHS hospital admission in the UK each year and a significant workload for hospital emergency departments and minor injuries units. Many thousands of different agents are involved and the appropriate management of poisoning is therefore a major task for the NHS.
Although the majority of poisoning-related deaths occur outside hospital, reduction of in-hospital morbidity and mortality is still an important challenge. Appropriate triage and management of patients, both in primary care and in hospitals, is a key approach to reducing morbidity and mortality. A large number of suspected accidental exposures to poisons occur in children and managing these appropriately is a further challenge for the NHS. Appropriate advice often prevents unnecessary hospital admissions.
Patient data gathered by NPIS Units is entered on a secure database, fostering a collaborative and consistent approach throughout the NPIS network. The development of a more closely networked service and harmonised data collection has made it possible for surveillance at a national level to be undertaken.
Information from the database is available for use in the compilation of national statistics on poisons enquiries, for public health surveillance and monitoring purposes.