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Introduction

The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99)1  require that the employer makes arrangements for a suitable QC programme to be provided for all radiological equipment. The employer should consult the appointed Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) and Medical Physics Expert (MPE) about the QC programme. There are also many guidance documents 2,3,4  containing recommended standards for the QC of equipment.

The QC programme should

  • specify the frequency of testing;
  • contain a written protocol detailing how to perform the testing;
  • contain appropriate action level(s) for each test result;
  • identify the remedial actions required in the event that the action level(s) are exceeded;
  • make clear who has responsibility for carrying out the testing;
  • make clear who has responsibility for acting on adverse findings.

Under IRR99, it is for the employer to decide who undertakes the testing – this can be the employer’s own staff or contractors. When QC is undertaken, it is important that all other relevant aspects of IRR99 are adhered to – this includes compliance with the Local Rules and arrangements for personal monitoring.

Under the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 (IR(ME)R),5 anyone performing QC of radiological equipment is regarded as an IR(ME)R operator.

With their familiarity with the equipment and their knowledge of the department in which they work, APs are well placed to undertake equipment QC.  Before the AP can undertake this operator duty, IR(ME)R requires the following:

  1. that the AP is entitled, in accordance with the employer’s procedures, to act as an IR(ME)R operator with a scope of practice that includes the QC tests they perform and the equipment on which they perform these tests;
  2. that there is a written protocol covering the practical aspects of the QC that is performed;
  3. that the AP is adequately trained as an IR(ME)R operator, with provision made for ongoing training;
  4. that the AP, in their capacity as an IR(ME)R operator, follows the employer’s procedures.

This guidance briefing outlines the steps to be taken where an employer wishes to entitle their APs to perform equipment QC.

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