The role of the Poisons Information Centre is to provide the general public and health professionals of Queensland with prompt, up-to-date and evidence- based clinical 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 potential 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 their onset, or advised on the need for assessment by a doctor or referral to hospital.
Health professionals, such as paramedics, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists, are also given relevant 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 and effective treatment. The Centre also plays a role in poisoning prevention through information provision, educational activities and liaison with other agencies involved in health promotion.
All calls are answered by clinical pharmacists who have specific additional training in toxicology, risk assessment and the provision of poisons information.
The Centre also has access to a range of consultants who can provide expert advice about a wide range of emergencies, including bites and stings, mushrooms, plants, spiders, snakes, insects and the management of poisoned patients as deemed necessary.