What happens when you call the Poisons Centre?

Your call to the Poisons Centre will be answered by a pharmacist or medical scientist who is a "Specialist in Poisons Information" (SPI). All SPI's have extra training in poisons information.

So that we can be sure all callers receive the best possible advice, we will need to ask some questions. These will include:

- what happened
- when it occurred
- name of the products involved
- any symptoms so far
- the name and age of the patient
- any medical history
- your location.

The SPI will then look up poisoning references, decide the risk in your particular case, and tell you what to do next. In most cases accidental poisonings can be watched at home. You will be advised what to look for and what to do if symptoms develop. Sometimes a caller is referred immediately to hospital or the GP. If we think it is needed, we can organise an ambulance for you.
As well as taking calls the Poisons Centre helps to identify poisoning trends and products causing poisonings in the community. The Poisons Centre will then alert the appropriate authorities and work with them to reduce the risk to the community.

Every call to the Poisons Centre is reviewed by another SPI within 24 hours. This means 2 people are listening to every poisoning case to make sure you receive the best advice. In some cases we may need to follow up a call to make sure you get the best care. This is why we will ask for your name, phone number and post code. All personal information gathered by the Poisons Centre becomes part of a medical record which is kept confidential.

Call the Poisons Centre on 131126 for all poisoning concerns or medication errors.