Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations (IR(ME)R)

Page last updated: 12 May 2022
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We enforce the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations (IR(ME)R) in England.

Medical ionising radiation is used widely in hospitals, dental care, clinics and in medical research to help diagnose and treat conditions. Examples are x-rays and nuclear scans, and treatments such as radiotherapy.

The regulations aim to make sure that it is used safely to protect patients from the risk of harm when being exposed to ionising radiation.

They set out the responsibilities of duty holders (the employer, referrer, IR(ME)R practitioner and operator) for radiation protection and the basic safety standards that duty holders must meet.

Responsibilities include:

  • minimising unintended, excessive or incorrect medical exposures
  • justifying each exposure to ensure the benefits outweigh the risks
  • optimising diagnostic doses to keep them “as low as reasonably practicable” for their intended use.

The regulations apply to both the independent sector and the public sector (NHS).

Regulations

The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017 are on legislation.gov.uk:

News and updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Changes to IR(ME)R procedures

In August 2020 we outlined temporary procedures and guidance relating to IR(ME)R during the pandemic. From 1 April 2022 these no longer apply.

19 December 2019
CQC reports on safe use of radiation in health care settings

18 July 2019
CQC IR(ME)R inspections of specialist paediatric radiology services

30 January 2018
Ionising radiation: changes in England from February 2018