Medical facilities found to be breaking X-ray and CT scan radiation regulations

Inspectors looking at the use of ionising radiation in X-ray and CT scans in Irish dental and medical facilities have found multiple cases of non-compliance with regulations.

eports by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) showed eight sites were not compliant under headings that included: undertaking; equipment; recognition of medical physics experts; responsibilities of medical physics experts and involvement of medical physics experts in medical radiological practice.

These were Annesley Dental Clinic; Ballsbridge Dental Clinic; Cabra Dental Centre; Dental Surgery – John Canavan; Dental Tech; Dr Michael Gibson; Fairview Dental Clinic and Swords Village Dental Practice.

Seven sites were found to be “non-compliant with diagnostic reference levels,” including Annesley Dental Clinic; Ballsbridge Dental Clinic; Cabra Dental Centre; Dental Surgery – John Canavan; Dental Tech; Dr Michael Gibson; and Fairview Dental Clinic.

And five were found to be non-compliant with the equipment regulation. However, these sites had engaged or re-engaged the services of an MPE (medical physics expert) in advance of inspection.

These were: Castlemill Dental Clinic; Clontarf Aesthetic Dentistry; Dalkey Dental; Dun Laoghaire Dental; and Stillorgan Village Dental.

However, inspectors also found 10 cases of good level of compliance in their 23 inspections.

Those marked out for good compliance were Bon Secours Hospital Cork; Department of Radiology, Beaumont Private Clinic; Dexascan & Bone Health Unit; MRH Mullingar; Phibsboro Dental Care; Smile Hub; Sports Surgery Clinic; St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network at St James’s Hospital; The Plaza Dental Practice; and University Hospital Kerry.

Examples of good practice observed by inspectors included:

  • In St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network at St James’s Hospital, there were procedures in place to ensure special attention was given to patients who required high doses of radiation, for example, for paediatric patients or for patients undergoing complex radiation therapy.
  • In the Sports Surgery Clinic, an initiative to include all staff in clinical audits had a positive impact, increasing compliance rates in all audits reviewed on the day of inspection.
  • A periodic newsletter was published in MRH Mullingar, focusing on topics relating to the radiation protection of patients and the public. It was made available to staff to encourage ongoing radiation protection training and education in the hospital.

The inspection of University Hospital Kerry took place to follow up on the findings of a previous inspection in July 2021, and inspectors found it to be either compliant or substantially compliant with the regulations.

Since the previous inspection, the undertaking had increased the level of multidisciplinary involvement in the local governance structures in the hospital.

Additionally, the medical physics expert MPE resourcing had improved but this was only a temporary arrangement and was reliant on outsourcing.

The long-term sustainability of this arrangement for MPE resourcing requires further consideration.

Similarly, the inspections of two undertakings, Dexascan & Bone Health Unit and Department of Radiology, Beaumont Private Clinic, were conducted to follow up on the outcomes of previous inspections and these undertakings were found to be fully compliant with the regulations assessed.

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