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Introduction

The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 (IR(ME)R 2000) is legislation aimed at the protection of the patient against the hazards associated with ionising radiation. It is made as criminal law rather than civil law. The main difference is that civil law seeks to establish fault and award compensation whereas criminal law relates to an illegal act which is punishable and compensation is a secondary issue. Legally, a signature means that the person takes responsibility for the IR(ME)R specific parts of work and it would be inappropriate for anyone to sign for something outside their control, for which they have not been trained or entitled and for that which they do not have the tools to complete. All radiographers and APs are advised to ensure that they have adequate professional indemnity insurance to cover their IR(ME)R role(s) within their workplace – SCoR offers this cover as part of individual membership and subscription

The Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000, (IR(ME)R 2000) - came into force on 13th May 2000 in concordance with the European Directive 97/43/Euratom (The Medical Exposures Directive, 1997). The Regulations replaced the Ionising Radiation (Protection of Persons Undergoing Medical Examination or Treatment) Regulations 1988 (POPUMET) which have been repealed. The Regulations are available via: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2000/20001059.htm and there are separate regulations for Northern Ireland.

The following document provides guidance on IR(ME)R 2000 and notes on good practice. The guidance is not intended to be binding and cannot take the place of legal advice. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130107105354/http://www.dh.g...

The 2006 Amendment to IR(ME)R 2000 moved enforcement powers within England, made amendments to certain definitions in the 2000 Regulations in order to clarify their meaning; reflect changes to terminology used in the 2000 Regulations; and make transitional provision for incomplete matters or matters not finally disposed of before the Regulations come into force on 1 November 2006. The Regulations are available via: www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20062523.htm

The 2011 Amendment to IR(ME)R - (IR(ME)(A)2011) now  includes “asymptomatic individuals”. At the end of regulation 3(a) (application) of the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 after “medical diagnosis or treatment” insert “, including any exposure of an asymptomatic individual” The updated regulations may be cited as Ionising Radiation (Medical exposure) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 and came into force on 25th July 2011. The amendment may be seen at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/1567/contents/made

IR(ME)R sets down the application of this legislation, in each of the following areas:

  • Responsibilities of all duty holders under IR(ME)R,
  • Justification of individual medical exposures,
  • Optimisation of exposures,
  • Clinical audit,
  • Role for expert advice,
  • Equipment requirements,
  • Training
  • Enforcement
  • Defence of due diligence
  • Schedule 1 Employer’s Procedures
  • Schedule 2 Adequate Training

SCoR Guidance
IR(ME)R Regulations are flexible and allow a wide variety of practices to be undertaken as long as there is clear justification for the medical exposure to be undertaken.. Responsibility for compliance with IR(ME)R rests with the Employer and all entitled duty holders as defined in the Regulations. A very important document for all radiographers and assistant practitioners is the 2008 jointly authored publication entitled “A Guide to Understanding the Implications of the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations in Radiotherapy” written by SCoR, IPEM, RCR and HPA. This is also useful to staff working in radiological fields outside radiotherapy as it explains several elements of generic IR(ME)R information.

 

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