Privacy Statement for the National Poisons Information Centre

This privacy statement provides information about the ways in which the National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC) at Beaumont Hospital collects, processes, stores, shares and keeps personal data/information provided by those who contact the service for medical advice on poisoning/suspected poisoning.

The NPIC is committed to meeting our data protection responsibilities.

The Data Controller for the NPIC is the Beaumont Hospital Board.

The National Poisons Information Centre

The National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC) at Beaumont Hospital provides a 24-hour service to assist doctors and healthcare professionals in the management of poisoning. The NPIC staff answers all enquiries received between 8am and 10pm daily. The National Poisons Information Service in the United Kingdom is contracted to answer Irish enquiries between 10pm and 8am daily.

The Public Poisons Information Line is a dedicated telephone line available to members of the public between 8am and 10pm daily for medical advice on cases of accidental poisoning.

The type of personal data collected by the NPIC

The NPIC records, processes, and keeps medical records with personal information including the caller’s name, telephone number, their professional or kin relationship to the patient (subject) exposed to a poison, the telephone number of the patient or their guardian if known, the general location of the patient (for example town or county if known), the patients name and other personal data (when provided – for example, date of birth, relevant medical conditions, regular medication), the circumstances of poisoning, relevant clinical details (signs and symptoms) and the treatment recommended.

How the National Poisons Information Centre uses your information

The NPIC uses personal data to allow us to provide healthcare services, care and advice on the management of poisoning for medical purposes, and to conduct audit and research. Only anonymised data and aggregate data are used for research.

The NPIC may share your details with other healthcare professionals (including staff at the National Poisons Information Service in the United Kingdom) to ensure continuity of medical care.

The NPIC does not share personal information with commercial third parties.

How the NPIC keeps your data safe

Only authorised staff have access to your data. Organisational and technological protection measures are in place to meet Beaumont Hospital’s security obligations for the collection, processing, maintenance, storage and destruction of personal data. The staff of the NPIC undergo training in data protection and data security.

NPIC website

The NPIC’s website ( uses cookies. The purpose of cookies is to assist the NPIC with the development of our website to ensure we provide relevant information in an easily accessible format. The NPIC website contains links to the NPIC Privacy Statement.

There is no search facility on our website.

The Healthcare Professionals Line and the Public Poisons Information Line

All the NPIC telephone lines have an automated welcome message informing individuals that they have reached the National Poisons Information Centre and that telephone enquiries are recorded and data stored electronically.

All callers who stay on the line after the message has ended and speak with an employee of the NPIC shall be deemed to have consented to their call being recorded and their data and the patient’s data being collected and processed. A caller to the NPIC can decline to give their name and personal details and this will not affect the advice being given to them by NPIC staff members.

The NPIC records and keeps medical records on all poisoning cases with information including the caller’s telephone number, their professional or kin relationship to the patient/subject exposed to a poison, the telephone number of the patient or their guardian if known, general location (for example town or county if known), patient names and personal data (when provided – for example, date of birth, relevant medical conditions, regular medication), the circumstances of poisoning, relevant clinical details and treatment recommended.

Medical records relating to poisoning cases are recorded in paper, electronic and audio formats for clinical governance and audit purposes. The NPIC uses a secure electronic database (named UKPID) to process, store and retrieve enquiry data. The UKPID database is password protected and can only be accessed by authorised personnel.

All the NPIC telephones have a caller number display facility and the telephone number is recorded in paper and electronic format. Having a contact telephone number enables NPIC staff to contact callers/patients/guardians in case the information provided on the management of poisoning needs to be amended/clarified, for continuity of care if the person is transferred to a healthcare facility, and for the purposes of follow-up enquiries to determine how the patient is medically.

Emailing the NPIC

Emails sent to the NPIC ( are recorded as an enquiry (if relevant) and forwarded to a member of staff for action. The sender’s email address and personal details included in the email correspondence will remain visible to the staff member(s) tasked with dealing with the query.

Please be aware that it is the sender’s responsibility to ensure that the content of their emails is within the bounds of the law. Unsolicited material of a criminal nature will be reported to the relevant authorities and blocked.

Audit/research using the NPIC data

The NPIC publishes annual reports, newsletters, case studies, abstracts, articles and statistical information on the number and type of cases we are consulted on. All information is anonymised and does not identify any individual or disclose their personal data.

The NPIC’s website features a rolling display of the NPIC Facebook page. By ‘liking’, ‘following’, ‘sharing’ and commenting on a post on the NPIC Facebook page, the user has consented to their details being displayed (in accordance with the privacy policy of Offensive and derogatory comments made on an NPIC post may be deleted.

Making a complaint to the NPIC

If you wish to make a complaint, please contact the Poisons Information Centre. When a complaint is received by the NPIC, a file will be generated which will usually contain personal information about the complainant and any other individuals involved in the complaint. The NPIC will only collect personal information that is necessary to investigate the complaint.

The NPIC may have to disclose the complainant’s identity to whomever the case is against. We will try to facilitate a complainant who wishes to remain anonymous, but it may be inevitable that the identities of other parties are made known to ensure fairness in the process. If sensitive personal data is collected for the purposes of a complaint, it will be safely processed.

The information contained in complaint files will be kept in line with Beaumont Hospital’s data retention policy. Data will be kept in a secure environment and available only to authorised staff who need to access it.

Online registration

Some commercial businesses are required by law to register with the NPIC under the Chemicals Act (No. 13 of 2009), and the Detergents Regulation (EC) No. 648/2004. To facilitate this, the NPIC provides an online registration system. Customer usage is tracked to ensure that customers supplying payment information can do so in a safe and secure manner. No direct online payments are possible via the NPIC website.

When a business registers with the NPIC, an online record of their registration is created. The NPIC does not retain manual registration records. Except in the case of sole traders, registration files do not generally contain personal data, as they relate to commercial bodies.

Access to personal information

You have a right to request a copy of your personal data held by the NPIC at Beaumont Hospital. You are entitled to know the categories of data kept and the purpose(s) for processing it. You must make an access request in writing or email to Beaumont Hospital. If your request is considered unfounded or excessive, or if you request the same information more than once, Beaumont Hospital may charge a fee that cannot exceed €6.35. Beaumont Hospital must reply to your request within 40 days.

Beaumont Hospital can restrict an individual’s right of access in accordance with limited restrictions set down in the Acts (please see below). You are entitled to complain to the Data Protection Commissioner about the refusal if you wish.

Access to Health and Social Work Data

There are modifications to the right of access in the interest of the data subject or the public interest, designed to protect the individual from hearing anything about himself or herself which might cause serious harm to his or her physical or mental health or emotional well-being.


As far as possible, the NPIC will not disclose personal data without consent. However, when we investigate a complaint or are contacted by healthcare professionals caring for individuals (patients), we may need to share personal information with the other parties concerned. We will consider any request for anonymity in respect of a case, but we cannot guarantee that it will be possible to enforce it.

The NPIC will not disclose your personal data to third parties except in instances where an individual has consented to the disclosure, or we are obliged by law to disclose the data. Third parties to whom we may disclose information include organisations such as An Garda Síochána, professional medical bodies.

If you have any queries about this Privacy Statement, please email:

The National Poisons Information Centre
Beaumont Hospital
Beaumont Road
Dublin 9