Abu Dhabi: Health care providers must ensure a continuous supply of antidotes to deal with poisoning-related emergencies, the Abu Dhabi Department of Health said in a statement on Monday.

The antidotes must also be accessible and used in a safe manner, according to new standards guiding antidote stocks at health care facilities in the emirate.

The standards, which specify an updated list of required antidotes and their levels, will come into effect within six months. They will apply to emergency departments and urgent care centres, which are typically the first points of contact for patients, who have suffered poisoning.

“Antidotes are effective in reversing and neutralising the effects of poison when used appropriately and at the right time to save patients’ lives. Thus, it is necessary for health care facilities and emergency divisions to have ample stock at all times,” said Dr Khaled Al Jaberi, director of health care licensing and medical education at the department.

“The revisions outline required stock levels, antidotes types and recommended dosages. In addition, antidote lists include newly approved antidotes, and align with international guidelines for striking a balance between antidote stocks and the financial burden of doing so,” the official added.

The new guidelines require health care facilities with licensed emergency services to submit periodical reports on existing stocks to the department. Licensed health professionals are also required to prescribe and administer antidotes in accordance with their competence and scope of practice.

Health care professionals in the emirate have previously said that treating a case of poisoning poses a ‘battle against time’, and called upon health authorities to establish a round-the-clock poisoning centre with a hotline to deal with urgent cases.

Medications and household chemicals are the most common substances leading to accidental poisoning in the emirate.

Emergency number

In case of a poisoning emergency, contact the Abu Dhabi Poison and Drug Information Centre at 800424 between 7am and 3pm from Sunday to Thursday. Or call the ambulance at 998.