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Report shows an increase in radiation incidents

23 July 2014
  • Public

Our annual report on activity in 2013/2014 relating to our enforcement of The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 in England is available now.

The regulations are intended to:

  • protect patients from unintended, excessive or incorrect medical exposures during common procedures such as x-rays (including dental), radiotherapy, CT scans and in nuclear medicine.
  • ensure a framework is in place ensuring the benefits outweigh the risks and that exposures are ‘optimised’ so that patients receive no more than the exposure required for the desired benefit, within technological limitations.

Our 2013 report

The annual report gives information about our inspections, the notifications we receive from healthcare providers when patients receive exposures that are ‘much greater than intended’, and our enforcement activity in this area.

During 2013/14 we received 968 notifications, an increase on the previous year of some 45%. We attribute this mainly to an amendment made in 2012 to guidance by the Department of Health to the definition of what should be notified to us.

Of the 968 notifications, 781 (81% of the total) were from diagnostic radiology, 49 were from nuclear medicine and 138 notifications were from radiotherapy departments.

In 2013 we served one prohibition notice (where the use of x-rays had to be stopped immediately) and two improvement notices (where we gave the provider time to make improvements) – all three of these notices served on dental practices.

We believe that transparency is a key driver in transformational change, and that notifying such exposures to us is essential so that organisations learn from the error, which helps to mitigate the risks of repeat errors. Incidents can be reported here. Further information is available about ionising radiation is available here.

Last updated:
29 May 2017