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New Radiation Regulations
Let me begin my first expert insight at QCS by promising to be short and sweet or perhaps simply put, brief but relevant. I will ensure to be practical and add value to your practice…leaving you with less to worry about.
A Bit About Myself…
I have been asked to introduce myself so here it is…My name is Priya Sharma and I moved from Canada in 2006 and London has been home ever since. I come to QCS with a healthcare professional portfolio including dental nursing, dental practice management, pharmacy, medical information, pharmacovigilance, regulation, teaching at university, presenting at national conferences, dental and medical writing and providing expert advice to various organisations. Currently, I serve as a Fitness to Practice panellist at the General Dental Council and am Practice Manager at two dental practices in London and Buckinghamshire. I am also an examiner for the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses (NEBDN). I graduated as a pharmacist and sociologist from Canada and qualified as a dental nurse in London. I truly look forward to working with you all.
So Let’s Get Started…
The new year brings with it new Ionising Radiation Regulations (IRR) that will affect all dental practices.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has replaced IRR99 with IRR17 as of the 1st of January 2018 and the Ionising Radiation Medical Exposure Regulations 2000 (IRMER2000) will be replaced by IRMER18 on the 6th February 2018.
IRR’s mandate is to protect staff, patients and members of the public whilst IRMER has the patient interest at its heart.
Why the Change?
European legislation is what prompted both of these new regulations. And yes…it applies to the United Kingdom and Brexit does not change these matters.
Registration with HSE
Of most urgent attention is that dental x-ray equipment needs to be registered with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). This needs to be done by the 5th of February 2018 and can be done online at www.hse.gov.uk. There will be a fee of £25.00 per employer so even if that employer owns more than one practice, the fee will cover all of them. This is a one-off registration and will not require renewal. It is a very straightforward form that will require confirmation that all legal requirements have been met including risk assessment, contingency plans and the appointment of a Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) which all practices should have already.
Medical Physics Expert Appointment
Along with an RPA, dental practices also need a Medical Physics Expert (MPE). In practice, the RPA and MPE are generally the same person. Speak to the organisation that your practice uses to confirm this.
Policy and Procedure
Dental practices must continue to have Local Rules in order to demonstrate that a practice is conforming to all regulations.
Along with existing policies, you must also have a written procedure outlining that patients are being provided with sufficient information regarding the risks and benefits of x-rays and a procedure to demonstrate that people are informed if any unintended or accidental exposure to the radiation occurs.
Estimate the Dose
A dental practice's risk assessment should include an estimate of dose to the members of the general public as part of a practice’s risk assessment. Further details regarding dose may be obtained by the practice’s RPA.
There is a requirement to notify and record any radiation-significant events in order to prevent recurrences in the future.
Carers and Comforters
The new regulation will require justification to exposure to radiation for “carers and comforters” (e.g. parents of children). Most practices do not allow another person to be present whilst taking x-rays. If so, you must have a brief statement in the practice’s policies and procedures indicating this in order to be transparent.
This refers to having an x-ray carried out for no health benefit, albeit highly unlikely in dentistry. Once again, the majority of dental practices do not do this, however, you need to have a statement in your policy and procedure reflecting the fact that the practice does not carry out non-medical exposures using x-ray equipment.
In a Nutshell…
If you have not done so then register your dental practice with the HSE to set the ball rolling.
Wishing you a happy and compliant 2018.
*All information is correct at the time of publishing