What is ionising radiation in healthcare?
Ionising radiation in healthcare is used in a range of different ways and falls under three broad categories:
- Diagnostic imaging: e.g. x-rays to take pictures of teeth and bone in dental practices and hospitals
- Radiotherapy: e.g. to treat disease such as certain types of cancer
- Nuclear medicine: e.g. to diagnose and determine the severity of or treat a variety of diseases and other abnormalities within the body using small amounts of radioactive material.
All healthcare organisations using ionising radiation must comply with The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017.
Who we inspect
We inspect independent healthcare organisations that use ionising radiation for medical purposes in Wales, to make sure that they are safe for people receiving treatment.
How we monitor compliance
HIW are responsible for monitoring compliance against IR(ME)R, we do this by:
- Inspecting organisations that use ionising radiation
- Reviewing incidents notified to us that result in a significant additional or unintended exposure
- Considering how dental practices comply with IR(ME)R, as part of our dental practice inspections
How we inspect
We look at how services:
- Comply with the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations (IR(ME)R)
- Meet the National Minimum Standards for Independent Health Care Services in Wales.
- Comply with the Care Standards Act 2000
- Comply with the Independent Health Care (Wales) Regulations 2011
- Meet any other relevant professional standards and guidance (where applicable)
Our inspections of healthcare services using ionising radiation are usually announced. Services receive up to twelve weeks notice of an inspection.
The inspections are conducted by at least one HIW inspector and are supported by a Senior Clinical Officer from Public Health England (PHE), acting in an advisory capacity.
The following documents provide guidance about what we will look at during an inspection.