The Queensland Poisons Information Centre commenced operations from its current location in the Pharmacy Department in the Royal Children's Hospital, Brisbane in 1973.
The role of the Centre is to provide the public and health professionals of Queensland with prompt, up-to-date and appropriate information, and advice to assist in the management of poisonings and suspected poisonings. The Centre is also occasionally called upon to provide advice to callers from neighbouring countries such as Papua New Guinea.
The seriousness of a poisoning situation is assessed after a detailed history is obtained from the caller. Members of the public may be then given first aid instructions, information on possible symptoms, and advised on the need for assessment by a doctor or referral to hospital.
Health professionals such as doctors, nurses, and pharmacists are also given information about product formulations and poisoning advice that may assist in the management of poisoned patients.
The Centre aims to prevent unnecessary visits to doctors and hospitals, to alleviate unnecessary concern for patients and carers where no significant toxicity is likely and to ensure patients who are poisoned receive prompt effective treatment. The Centre also plays a role in the promotion of poisoning prevention through educational activities and liaison with other agencies involved in health promotion
All calls are answered by pharmacists who have specific additional training in toxicology and the provision of poisons information.
The Centre also has access to a range of consultants who can provide expert advice about bites and stings, mushrooms, plants, spiders, snakes, insects and the management of poisoned patients.