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Poisons Information Service

Child with household weedkiller in garden shed

Poisoning accounts for more than 100,000 NHS hospital admissions in the UK each year or about 1% of the total number 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.