11 January 2024
The National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) recently published their annual report, summarising service activities for the year 2022-23. The NPIS is comprised of four units based in Birmingham, Cardiff (the Welsh National Poisons Unit), Edinburgh, and Newcastle. It provides toxicology advice to NHS healthcare professionals, helping to avoid unnecessary hospital referrals for patients at low risk of harm, as well as improving the quality of treatment and shortening hospital stays for those with more serious toxicity.
During 2022-23, the NPIS received and provided advice for 38,700 telephone enquiries. The majority of these were from NHS advice providers, primary responders and hospitals; of these 2,140 serious and more complex enquiries involved discussion with and advice from an NPIS consultant toxicologist. The NPIS is responsible for TOXBASE (a clinical toxicology database); there were 812,380 accesses of TOXBASE via the website, and 285,000 accesses by 28,300 users of the TOXBASE app. Uses of TOXBASE online and the TOXBASE app increased by approximately 7.5% and 6.5%, respectively, in the year 2022-23, compared with 2021-22.
The NPIS runs a continuous quality assurance exercise to demonstrate that the services provided maintain a high level of user satisfaction. The proportion of respondents scoring services as very good or excellent was 96.7% for TOXBASE online, 96.6% for the NPIS telephone poisons information service, and 96.3% for the UK Teratology Information Service.
During 2022-23, the NPIS focused on several toxicological issues of particular concern, carrying out additional surveillance, including:
In 2023-24 the NPIS will continue to provide 24 hour advice on the management of cases of poisoning to NHS healthcare professionals, as well as taking forward specific areas of research to
better understand the impacts of poisoning and how to treat poisoned patients. Further information about the NPIS Annual Report for 2022-23 can be found here.