LATEST DENTAL NEWS

COVID-19 AND RADIATION PROTECTION (18/03/2020)

In order to minimise risks of spreading the coronavirus, and with short term staffing problems in the NHS caused by some staff needing to self-isolate, we regret to inform you that we may not be able to carry out routine radiation safety testing of our customers' x-ray equipment within the normal testing period. We will endeavour to arrange to undertake testing again as soon as possible but in the meantime

  1. continue your QA testing (if appropriate) and
  2. contact us if you have any problems.
For current customers, we will continue to act as Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) so you are fully legally covered as per the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 and as Medical Physics Expert (MPE) as per the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017. We will continue to test repaired equipment and new equipment where old has been removed, to allow you to continue practice unhindered as far as possible. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.

NEW PATIENT SHIELDING GUIDANCE IN DIAGNOSTIC RADIOLOGY

A joint publication has been issued by the British Institute of Radiology, the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, Public Health England, the Royal College of Radiologist and the Society & College of Radiographers. "Guidance on using shielding on patients for diagnostic radiology applications", BIR/IPEM/PHE/RCR/SCoR/SRP, 2020 is a thorough review of modern practice and evidence. It states that, "Overall, the findings suggest that contact shielding (e.g. thyroid shields, lead rubber aprons, gonad shields, breast shields on patients) provides minimal or no benefit and professionals should concentrate on other areas of radiation protection which are more effective in optimising the patient radiation exposure."
The only exception in the report is for some models of dental CBCT with large field of view (FOV) where there may be some benefit to the patient. In which case it is recommended that a medical physics expert (MPE) is consulted. The report states that there is, "Insufficient evidence for small field of view but effectiveness of a thyroid shield is likely to be low due to the exclusion of the thyroid from the primary beam and the reduction in secondary radiation from tighter collimation. The use of a thyroid collar may lead to artefacts in the images. An MPE should be consulted where the use of a thyroid collar is to be considered, such as units with a large FOV."

NEW NATIONAL DIAGNOSTIC REFERENCE LEVELS (NDRL) PUBLISHED

A new system of setting National DRLs for diagnostic radiology procedures has been launched with new values replacing those set by the Department of Health over a decade ago. 

"The NDRLs will be regularly reviewed and updated by Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with a working party on national dose surveys and DRLs with representation from PHE, the radiology professional bodies and the Department of Health. Data for future NDRLs will be considered from national dose surveys undertaken by PHE and from other appropriate studies."

For further details, and the latest NDRL values, please visit the PHE website.

Diagnostic Reference Levels are defined in UK legislation (IRMER) as "dose levels in medical radiodiagnostic practices or, in the case of radioactive medicinal products, levels of activity, for typical examinations for groups of standard-sized patients or standard phantoms for broadly defined types of equipment", and from 2018 will also include "interventional radiology practices". They are not intended to be compared with doses to individual patients, but to the average dose to a sample of patients (e.g. 20 patients undergoing a particular examination using a particular X-ray set).

HPA ISSUE SAFETY WARNING TO DENTISTS

The UK’s Health Protection Agency has issued a warning concerning the Tianjie Dental ‘Falcon’ hand held X-ray set imported from China. This device is not CE marked and could lead to large radiation doses to staff and patients. Click for full report.

HAVE YOU BOUGHT, OR ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT BUYING A DENTAL CONE BEAM CT SYSTEM?

Cone Beam CT (CBCT) is a relatively new technique, not covered by the NRPB’s 2001 Guidance Notes. In some cases, CBCT can lead to considerably larger radiation doses to staff and patients if used without proper precautions.

The UK’s Health Protection Agency has issued free guidance on the safe use of dental CBCT, available to download from www.hpa.org.uk

We strongly recommend that all dentists who have bought or who are thinking of buying a CBCT unit download, read and follow this helpful document.
Our service is experienced in providing radiation protection advice on and safety & performance testing of Cone Beam CT, and can support dentists in preparing for and implementing CBCT safely and legally in their practice.

THIRD RADIATION PROTECTION ADVISER

We are pleased to announce that Dr Tim Wood has been awarded the RPA2000 Certificate of Competence to be a Radiation Protection Adviser. Such a certificate from a body authorised by the HSE is required by any person acting as a Radiation Protection Adviser under the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999. There regulations require an employer to consult a certificated RPA on;

  • The implementation of requirements as to controlled and supervised areas.
  • The prior examination of plans for installations and the acceptance into service of new or modified sources of ionising radiation in relation to any engineering controls, design features, safety features and warning devices provided to restrict exposure to ionising radiation.
  • The regular calibration of equipment provided for monitoring levels of ionising radiation and the regular checking that such equipment is serviceable and correctly used.
  • The periodic examination and testing of engineering controls, design features, safety features and warning devices and regular checking of systems of work provided to restrict exposure to ionising radiation.
  • Prior risk assessment of new radiation work.
  • Incidents where an accidental dose of more than 6 mSv effective dose has been received.
  • The critical examination of safety features of newly installed radiation equipment.
  • The conduct of any investigation required by the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999.
  • The drawing up of contingency plans for reasonably foreseeable radiation accidents.
  • The dose assessment and recording of classified persons.
  • Quality assurance programmes for medical radiation equipment or apparatus.

Tim joins our other certificated RPAs, John Saunderson and Craig Moore. Tim has also been appointed, alongside John and Craig, as a Medical Physics Expert (MPE) under the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 (IRMER) for radiological imaging.

Go to the CONTACT US page to find out more, and to get in touch.

Radiation Protection news - Compliance with IRR99: Action with professional organisations for dental practices and chiropractors

28 June, 2010. A news article from the Health & Safety Executive about their concerns with regards to poor compliance of dental practices and chiropractors with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999.

Dental practices told to comply with radiation regulations

An article on the HSE concerns about radiation safety in dental practices, as reported in the online journal, Cosmetic Dentistry Guide.

ADDRESS
Radiation Physics Department
Queen's Centre
Castle Hill Hospital
Cottingham
East Yorkshire
HU16 5JQ
U.K.

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