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Ionising radiation

  • Organisations we regulate,
  • Diagnostic and/or screening services,
  • Hospitals,
  • Hospital dental services,
  • Prison health services

Ionising radiation such as from x-rays or radiopharmaceuticals is used widely in medicine.

It is an indispensable tool for imaging as an aid to diagnosis or in facilitating surgical, cardiac or other interventional techniques as well as in the treatment of many types of cancer and other conditions.

Regulations and guidance

The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017 (known as IR(ME)R)

Department of Health guidance on IR(ME)R, with notes on good practice:

GOV.UK information on medical radiation: uses, dose measurements and safety advice.

The regulations are intended to:

  • Protect patients from unintended, excessive or incorrect medical exposures.
  • Ensure the benefits outweigh the risk in every case.
  • Make certain patients receive no more than the required exposure for the desired benefit, within technological limits.

The regulations also apply to exposures as part of established health screening programmes, medical or biomedical, diagnostic or therapeutic research and those undertaken for medico-legal purposes.

How we monitor compliance

We enforce IR(ME)R by a variety of mechanisms including developing programmes of assessment and inspection of organisations using medical exposures.

Under regulation 8(4), employers are also obliged to submit notifications of significant accidental or unintended exposures (SAUE), which we investigate in every case.

We feed back to healthcare professionals and the wider public on the results of our work by publishing reports and working with the Department of Health, professional bodies and other stakeholders and enforcement organisations.

If you have any queries or require further assistance, contact the IR(ME)R team on 020 7448 9025 or email at

Last updated:
16 March 2018


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