Legislative and Regulatory Background to Radiation Protection Training

Why Radiation Protection Training is Important?

Medical ionising radiation has been used for more than 120 years to diagnose and treat patients. With the increased use of radiological procedures as a diagnostic and treatment tool, higher doses of radiation are now being used in procedures such as CT (Computed Tomography), Interventional Radiology and Cardiology. There are known risks from radiation; effects above a certain level can cause skin burns, cataracts and hair loss or random effects including increased risk of cancer induction. All personnel working with medical ionising radiation require training to ensure awareness of the risks associated for staff and patient safety.

Legislative and Regulatory Requirements

Healthcare providers have new responsibilities under revised legislation which requires that personnel have “adequate education, information and theoretical and practical training ….. as well as relevant competence in radiation protection” (EURATOM 2013/59: Article 18)”. The legislation will be transposed into Irish law in February 2018 and HIQA, who will assume responsibility for regulating patient radiation safety and radiation protection education and training in their inspection process.

Radiation Protection Training for Improved Safety

International and European expert groups have developed strategies to improve radiation safety The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have outlined 10 Actions to Improve Radiation Protection in Medicine, Number 4 of the The Bonn Call for Action,  details specific steps to “Strengthen Radiation Protection education and training of health professionals”. EuroSafe Imaging Call for Action launched by the European Society of Radiology (ESR) in 2014, highlights training as a key tool to improve safety in medical imaging across Europe and to strengthen patient care, “Action 6: Organise radiation protection training courses and develop e-learning material to promote a safety culture and raise awareness of radiation protection.”