27 Mar 2014

Poisons Centre concerned at merger plan

9:13 pm on 27 March 2014

The head of the National Poisons Centre is worried a proposal to merge its hotline services into a general helpline will put people's health at risk.

The Ministry of Health has proposed merging a range of telephone helplines including the poison hotline, Quitline for smokers, and helplines for gambling and alcohol addiction into one service.

Poisons Centre director Wayne Temple says using a general line for poisoning cases will stop people from getting instant advice.

Mr Temple says eight of the centre's 14 staff members are available to take calls, and when they are not answering the phone they are researching and updating the toxins database.