This is the annual report on regulatory activities in enforcing the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 (IR(ME)R). The regulations were established to ensure that all medical exposures in diagnosis, treatment, research and screening are individually justified and optimised. The report has two major sections. The first focuses on the work the Care Quality Commission (CQC) undertook to enforce IR(ME)R. The second is an analysis of the notifications made under regulation 4(5), where healthcare organisations are required to notify CQC of exposures to patients that are “much greater than intended”.
The data for 2008/09 showed that the NHS in England carried out over 26.5 million diagnostic imaging exposures involving ionising radiation. This is an increase of 2.4% since the previous year. There was also an increase in the number of radiotherapy treatments. Nearly 1.6 million treatment fractions were administered last year as part of radiotherapy treatment in the NHS, with more still carried out in the independent health care sector. In 2009, CQC received 483 notifications of exposures “much greater than intended”, which compares with 403 in 2008. The ratio of notifications to the total number of examinations is approximately one in 85,000. A significant cause of notifications continues to be radiological examinations involving the wrong patient.