LATEST NEWS

CQC IR(ME)R ANNUAL REPORT 2017/18

November 2018
The Care Quality Commission (CQC have published their latest report on their enforcement of the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations in England. This report covers 2017 and the first quarter of 2018.

NEW UK NATIONAL DOSE REFERENCE LEVELS PUBLISHED

November 2018
New national diagnostic reference levels (NDRLs), for clinicians using radiation in medicine, were published bb the UK Government on 15th November 2018. Most values have not changed, but the following have

  • Adult CT cervical spine NDRLs reduced (CTDIvol from 28 to 21 mGy, and DLP from 600 down to 440 mGy.cm)
  • Coronary CT angiography added
  • Adult CT examinations as part of PET-CT and SPECT-CT examinations added
  • National DRLs for Screening Mammography added
  • National Dose Reference Levels for Radiotherapy Planning CT Scans added

NEW PATIENT SAFETY REGULATION AND DHSC GUIDANCE

New radiation regulations to protect patients undergoing medical exposure came into force in February 2018. Links to the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017 (IRMER17), together with the Department of Health & Social Security (DHSC) guidance can now be found on our Patient Radiation Safety page.

FIRST PROPOSED NATIONAL DOSE REFERENCE LEVELS FOR RADIOTHERAPY PLANNING CT SCANS PUBLISHED

September 2018
An IPEM working party chaired by Tim Wood (one of the RPAs/MPEs from our group) has just published the first proposed national Dose Reference Levels for radiotherapy planning CT in Physics in Medicine and Biology. This work will allow all radiotherapy centres across the UK (and the world) to benchmark and optimise their local CT protocols to enable the best possible patient treatments, whilst ensuring the lowest dose of radiation is used (consistent with the clinical requirements). These recommendations have now been formally ratified as national Dose Reference Levels by the UK National DRL Working Party, which is led by Public Health England on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care. The work of this IPEM working party continues, and a second audit of cone beam CT dose indices is about to launch very soon.

NEW PATIENT SAFETY REGULATION AND DHSC GUIDANCE

New radiation regulations to protect patients undergoing medical exposure came into force in February 2018. Links to the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017 (IRMER17), together with the Department of Health & Social Security (DHSC) guidance can now be found on our Patient Radiation Safety page.

NEW REGULATIONS AND HSE GUIDANCE

New radiation regulations are now in force.

  • The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017, together with the HSE Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and guidance can now be downloaded from www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l121.htm.
  • The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017 can be downloaded from legislation.gov.uk. The Department of Health will be publishing guidance on these regulations.
All of our dental customers should have received an updated Radiation Protection File, containing changes required by the new regulations. Our veterinary customers will recieve an update to their Radiation Protection File shortly.

FAREWELL AND HAPPY RETIREMENT

After 27 years of service in the Radiation Physics Department, and many years before that working in both NHS and private healthcare technology, Andrew Davis has retired as our chief radiation protection technologist.
Andrew was instrumental in establishing our radiation protection services to private dental and veterinary practices in the 1990, and driving the growth and outstanding success of those services which now help over 300 dental & veterinary practices, schools and businesses across the country. Ever the champion of the vital role of medical physics technologists in enabling the safe and effective use of X-ray imaging in healthcare, Andrew's presence in the team will be greatly missed by his colleagues.

NEW YEAR, NEW REGULATIONS

On the 1st Janaury 2018 the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 will supercede the 1999 regulations of the same name.

On 6th February 2018 the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2017 will supercede both the 2000 regulations of the same name and the Medicines (Administration of Radioactive Substances) Regulations 1978.

The changes have been described by the regulators as “evolutionary and not revolutionary”, but there are certain additional actions which users of radiation will need to undertake, and we are writing to all our clients with details of what they need to do.

AMONG THE BEST OF BJR 2017

Kevin Brownsword, radiotherapy physicist in our department, is co-author of one of the 17 scientific papers picked by the British Journal of Radiology as Best of BJR in the last year.

In Vivo Dosimetry in UK External Beam Radiotherapy: Current and Future Usage (British Journal of Radiology. 2017 Mar 16;90(1072):20160915) reviews the use of direct dose monitoring during radiotherapy patient treatment, used as a way of detecting errors in treatment.

The paper concludes, "Due to technological advances, such as electronic data transfer, independent MU checking and daily IGRT, the overall risk of adverse treatment events in radiotherapy has been substantially reduced. However, the use of IVD may prevent a serious radiation incident. Point dose IVD is not considered suited to the requirements of verifying advanced radiotherapy techniques, leaving EPID dosimetry as the current modality likely to be developed as a future standard." .

IN THE NEWS

The arrival at Castle Hill Hospital of the latest radiotherapy treatment machine has been hailed by the Hull Daily Mail (21/3/2017), following a hospital press release. The new, £1.7 million, state of the art Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator (linac) will add to the other 8 radiotherapy treatment machines, of various capabilities, used to treat cancer.
Physicists and technologists from the Radiation Physics Department will be working with Varian staff in the installation, and then undertake several weeks of rigourous testing of the safety and accuracy of the linac before the first patients benefit from its treatments in June 2017.

NEW GUIDANCE ON REPORTING RADIATION INCIDENTS

Where an incident has occured in which a patient received a radiation exposure "much greater than intended", the UK radiation regulations require the employer undertaking the procedure to notify forthwith

  • the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), if caused by an equipment fault, or
  • the Care Quality Commission (CQC), for all other causes.
In January 2017, the Department of Health issued new guidance on the meaning of "much greater than intended" for incidents which must be reported to CQC. This guidance can be downloaded from www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-ionising-radiation-medical-exposure-regulations-2000.

Our medical physics experts (MPE), radiation protection advisers (RPA) and radioactive waste advicers (RWA) are able to provide help and advice to all our clients on all types of radiation incidents, and which of these must be notified to the regulators.

RECRUITING TO MEDICAL PHYSICIST TRAINING SCHEME 2017

Each year we recruit two physicists onto the national training scheme for healthcare scientists in medical physics. Training takes three years, with the first year spent undertaking rotational placement in the fields of Radiotherapy Physics, Radiation Safety, Imaging with Non-ionising Radiation and Imaging with Ionising Radiation. Trainees then specialise in one of those fields. In that time, a part-time MSc degree is also undertaken at Newcastle University.

In 2017 we are looking for one trainee to specialise in Radiotherapy Physics, and one in Radiation Safety Physics. Applications should be made via the national recruitment process - see the National School of Healthcare Science website for more details.

RADIATION PHYSICS AT HEALTH EXPO HULL AND EAST RIDING

The Radiation Physics Department had a strong showing at the recent Health Expo Hull and East Riding, with stands and posters on the new cyclotron facility that is coming to Castle Hill Hospital, Radiotherapy and VERTUAL demonstration, and the latest research and development activities being undertaken in the department. There was also a lot of interest in the careers stand with the opportunity to perform a Nuclear Medicine examination to find out what was wrong with Teddy. Highlight of the day had to be John’s homemade cyclotron, as featured in the Hull Daily Mail!

NEW PAPER PUBLISHED

Following the collaboration of the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals Radiation Physics Department with the pre-clinical research team at the University of Hull, a paper titled "A method to calibrate the RS 2000 x-ray biological irradiator for radiobiological flank irradiation of mice" has been published in Biomedical Physics & Engineering Express. This is an open access journal, meaning the full paper can be downloaded for free!

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).

DOUBLE WINNERS AT UKRC 2015!

This year, we offered two posters to the United Kingdom Radiology Congress 2015, and not only were both accepted for display, but both were awarded prizes.

Standardisation and optimisation of CT protocols using the Philips DoseRight 2.0 automatic exposure control system by Dr Tim Wood was awarded the Institute of Physics & Engineering in Medicine President’s Prize for best poster

Investigating the use of an anti-scatter grid in digital CR chest radiography by Dr Craig Moore was awarded a Highly Commended BIR/RAD poster prize.

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.

TIM ON TOUR

Dr Tim Wood continues to be in demand as an invited speaker sharing the pioneering work our service has been undertaking, and also teaching at national training days. Here are some forthcoming meetings at which he will be speaking.

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

CONTACTS

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