You are here

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 2000 and amendments made in 2006, known as IR(ME)R, can be found at the Office for Public Sector Information's website.

The Department of Health has published guidance on IR(ME)R, together with notes on good practice on its website.

Read the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations guidance and notes.

Read the professional guidance on radiology published in 2015.

Read the professional IRMER guidance on radiotherapy published in 2008.

More information on medical radiation can be found on GOV.UK.

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 4(5), employers are also obliged to submit notifications of exposures 'much greater than intended' (MGTI), 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, the IR(ME)R team can be contacted on 020 7448 9025 or via email at

Last updated:
21 June 2017


Help us improve this page