GIZ-Nord » research and projects » Role of Poisons Centres in Modern Societies
 

German poisons centres (PC) were officially invited by superior health administrators of the German federal states to describe there duties and responsibilies in modern society, especially within the health care system and its surroundings, in 2004.

The directors of German poisons centres have discussed this task intensively and have issued a document that fulfills it.

This English language document is a truncated translation of the German language document.

The Main Tasks of Poisons Centres

  • To provide medical help in cases of manifest or suspected poisonings 24 h a day by giving advice to patients and accompanying persons, especially to parents.
  1. Most consultations are carried out via telephone
  2. The exposures include mainly pharmaceuticals, drugs of abuse, pesticides and other chemical agents,  i. e. consumer products products for professional use
  3. Furthermore, biological organisms like plants, fungi or animals may cause symptomes that can be evaluated
  4. During consultation, a toxicological risk assessment is performed as a basis for recommendations
  5. These recommendations especially include advice whether any other institution of the medical system should be contacted
  • To support medical doctors treating poisoned patients, especially in emergency medicine, by additionally providing
  • Data on toxicity of toxic agents patients are exposed to
  • Toxic risk assessment taking toxicity, kind and size of exposure into account
  • Advice on specific medical diagnosis, monitoring and treatment measures based on the best medical scientific evidence
  • Facilitate contacts between medical doctors treating a poisoned patient and other institutions or experts to support the management of poisoning, e. g.
  • specialized medical treatment units
  • analytical laboratories
  • antidote holding centres
  • experts in identifying biological organisms like fungi, plants or exotic animals
  • To collect and aggregate data on poisonings with special care in descrption of agents involved
  • By following up selected poisoning cases, e. g. by telephone interview some days later
  • By data case input into a structured case database that facilitates powerful data retrieval
  • To retrieve case database and report on the frequency of defined poisoning to identify new or underestimated poison hazards and risks.
  • Carried out for medical purposes: to find toxic benchmark doses, to evaluate treatment measures
  • Carried out commissioned by authorities to identify agents of public health concern
  • Carried out commissioned by industry as basis for risk management and product safety measures for selected products or product groups
  • according to European Council Resolution 90/C329/03 (annual report)
  • To provide case data for toxicovigilance, i. e. to support health authorities in surveillance of public health
  • To provide toxicological judgement and poisoning risk assessment for authorities, especially in cases of emergencies for
  • police
  • fire brigades
  • customs
  • To provide education for prevention of poisonings for
  • parents
  • teachers
  • To provide education for poisoning management for
  • medical students
  • medical doctors
  • paramedics