Inspectors reviewing the use of ionizing radiation in x-rays and CT scans in Irish dental and medical facilities have found numerous cases of non-compliance with regulations.
Reports from the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) showed that eight sites were non-compliant under headings that included: commitment; equipment; recognition of experts in medical physics; responsibilities of medical physics experts and involvement of medical physics experts in the practice of medical radiology.
This was Annesley Dental Clinic; Ballsbridge Dental Clinic; Cabra Dental Center; Dental Surgery – John Canavan; dental technician ; Dr. Michael Gibson; Fairview Dental Clinic and Swords Village Dental Practice.
Seven sites were found to be ‘not meeting diagnostic benchmarks’, including Annesley Dental Clinic; Ballsbridge Dental Clinic; Cabra Dental Center; Dental Surgery – John Canavan; dental technician ; Dr. Michael Gibson; and Fairview Dental Clinic.
And five were found to be non-compliant with the equipment regulations. However, these sites had engaged or re-engaged the services of an MPE (Medical Physics Expert) prior to the inspection.
These were: Castlemill Dental Clinic; Clontarf aesthetic dentistry; Dalkey Dental; Dun Laoghaire Dental; and Stillorgan Village Dental.
However, the inspectors also found 10 cases of good level of compliance during their 23 inspections.
Those marked for good compliance were Bon Secours Hospital Cork; Department of Radiology, Private Clinic Beaumont; Dexascan & Bone Health Unit; MRH Mullingar; Phibsboro dental care; Smile Hub; Sports Surgery Clinic; St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network at St James’s Hospital; The Plaza dental practice; and Kerry University Hospital.
Here are some examples of good practices observed by inspectors:
- In St Luke’s radiation oncology network at St James’s Hospital, procedures were in place to ensure that special consideration was given to patients requiring high doses of radiation, for example, for pediatric patients or for patients undergoing complex radiotherapy.
- At the Sports Surgery Clinic, an initiative to include all staff in clinical audits has had a positive impact, increasing compliance rates in all audits reviewed on inspection day.
- A periodic newsletter was published in MRH Mullingar, focusing on topics related to the radiation protection of patients and the public. It has been made available to staff to promote continuous training and education in radiation protection in the hospital.
The inspection of Kerry University Hospital took place to follow up on the findings of a previous inspection in July 2021, and inspectors found it to be either in or substantially compliant with regulations.
Since the previous inspection, the company had increased the level of multidisciplinary involvement in local hospital governance structures.
Also, the resources of the medical physics expert MEP had improved, but this was only a temporary arrangement and depended on outsourcing.
The long-term viability of this arrangement for MPE resources requires further consideration.
Similarly, inspections of two companies, Dexascan & Bone Health Unit and Department of Radiology, Beaumont Private Clinic, were conducted to follow up on the results of previous inspections and these companies were found to be in full compliance with the regulations assessed.