A Department of Health working party has written to hospital CEOs and radiology service managers to urge them to get behind the establishment of ‘Imaging Optimisation Teams’ to improve patient safety.
Earlier this year, an expert working party published a practical guide for hospitals to help ensure optimum dose management and patient safety when administering CT scans and X-rays.
The guide also addresses several concerns raised around patient radiation resulting from the use of CT in the UK COMARE 16th report, published in August 2014.
Recommendation 7 in the guide suggests the establishment of ‘multidisciplinary radiation protection champions’, or Imaging Optimisation Teams throughout hospitals in the UK.
It is suggested that these new teams would be responsible for consistent improvement and optimisation of all examinations using ionising radiation - including CT scans - to support dose and image quality.
Optimisation of scanning protocols offers significant potential for dose reduction, but such improvements take effort and can only be achieved at the local level through active promotion and co-operation between professional groups.
The letter sent to trusts and health boards asks that managers and chief executives:
The letter also affirms that the patient safety outcomes achieved by the IOT will help underpin compliance with the new Basic Safety Standard Directive (radiation protection), currently being transposed into UK law.
Maria Murray, UK Radiation Protection Lead at the SCoR, represented the Society on the working group, and said: “I would urge all radiology managers across the UK to promote the concept of the IOT and to ensure it comes to fruition.”