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Quality Assurance of Patient Dose and Equipment

Radiation ProtectionRegular monitoring of patient doses is necessary to ensure that radiation doses are kept as low as reasonably practicable.

The Employer is responsible, under IR(ME)R17 [1], for implementing and maintaining a quality assurance programme for radiation equipment (previously a requirement of IRR17 [2]). Equipment is defined in IR(ME)R17 as that which delivers ionising radiation to a person undergoing an exposure or directly controls or influences the extent of the exposure.

Testing of equipment (see Testing and Maintenance of X-ray Equipment)and evaluation of patient dose, with the results detailed in formal written reports, allows the representative patient dose to be monitored and compared to the local diagnostic reference levels (DRLs). If results are consistently above the local DRLs, a thorough review of radiographic practice must be made to either improve or to justify keeping the current techniques.

Consult with your Medical Physics Expert for advice on the quality assurance tests that should be performed and ensure that the tests are carried out within the suggested timescales.

Ensure that formal written reports of quality assurance tests are obtained which detail the checks made, the results obtained and any resulting recommendations. Keep a log of these tests, plus details of any routine or special maintenance, in the Radiation Protection File(see X-ray Machine Routine Testing and Maintenance Record Dec 2019 template (Word)).

Ensure that frequent checks of safety features, such as warning lights and audible alarms, are carried out (see X-ray Machine Routine Surveillance Check Record Dec 2019 template (Word)).