BIR Radiation Safety

Radiation Protection 2

The Radiation Safety Special Interest Group is a truly multidisciplinary group as radiologists, radiographers and scientists all have both an interest in patient protection and also a radiation protection self-interest!

Our membership reflects this with an almost equal complement of medical, radiographic and scientific members.

We respond to policy and guidance consultations from governments and their agencies and communicate concerns about issues to those bodies from our members. We represent the BIR on various projects and committees where radiation protection is an issue (e.g. NRES, IEC, DH Working Group on EU Directive revision).

We represent our sister organisation, The Royal College of Radiologists on matters of radiation protection and sit on relevant committees of the Institute of Physics & Engineering in Medicine and the Society for Radiological Protection.

We are responsive to members' needs and are active in providing educational events and written guidance on matters of radiation protection. We are a very active SIG, always on the lookout for new members, of whatever profession, with an interest in radiation protection.  


Latest SIG News 

Update from June 2018 meeting 

The group had a productive and lively meeting on 5 June and welcomed a new member to the management group. Dr Paul Malcolm is a consultant radiologist from Norwich. The main topics for discussion are highlighted below:


  • IRMER Event on 5 September 2018 – book now for this popular event
  • Hot topics in radionuclide therapy – tentatively booked for 26 January 2019

Position papers and publications:

  • Radiation safety culture – position paper is being finalised
  • Referral training – first draft of this position paper has been circulated
  • We’ve just set up a working party, with representatives from other professional bodies, to produce guidance on applying shielding to patients.
  • The SIG are also working on producing guidance on facility management – the projecft now entitled ‘Practical guide to diagnostic radiological equipment installation and replacement’.  

In other news:

  • BIR’s Annual Congress for 2018 – the SIG  were given details on the final programme. This promises to be an excellent event and will cover three streams each day:
  • Leadership Event – the BIR want to launch a new annual leadership event in 2019 and were keen to have ideas for the programme from the SIGs. 
  • Online education – the BIR are currently developing a course on radiation protection for vascular surgeons – this should be ready to launch in September.


BIR position statement on the selection and purchase of lead aprons October 2017

Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2018 Consultation. July 2017.

The BIR has taken the opportunity to comment on the draft Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2018. In its current form, IR(ME)R 2018 is more of a transition than a step-change, except in the area of radioisotope licensing. It increases the emphasis on patient safety and requires provision of information on benefits and risks prior to examination. Comforters and carers now come under the umbrella of these regulations in terms of justification and dose limitation. The BIR welcomes the inclusion of medical equipment (in terms of QA and incident reporting) and the expansion and clarification of the role of the medical physics expert (MPE). It is, however, pressing for changes in the definition and training of referrers.  Overall, a worthwhile amendment to existing legislation.

New Guidance on reporting radiation incidents

The long awaited guidance on when to report a radiation incident under the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000, has finally been produced. It specifically addresses when medical exposures may have been “much greater than intended”.

The new document outlines the notification process and includes a helpful table of illustrative examples. Of particular note is the change in guideline factor for “high dose” diagnostic examinations and the clarification provided regarding imaging in radiotherapy.

The new Basic Safety Standards Directive (BSSD) for Radiation Protection, 2013/59/Euratom, was adopted by the European Commission in December 2013. This directive consolidates the previous Euratom directives, and incorporates the latest ICRP recommendations as well as bringing the EU into line with Basic Safety Standards of the IAEA.

2013/59/Euratom must be implemented in UK law by the 6th February 2018. This is being overseen by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, with extensive input from the Health and Safety Executive. The HSE have a webpage with further details and links to related sites – this can be accessed here: Those who are interested are also encouraged to join the HSE Radiation Community:

Our SIG is following the implementation process, asssisted by updates from James Taylor from the HSE and Ian Chell from the Department of Health. In cooperation with the Society of Radiation Protection and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, we held a joint meeting on the 22nd November 2016 to discuss the implementation of the new BSSD. This was held at the British Dental Association, 64 Wimpole Street, W1G 8YS, and was addressed by representatives of the regulators. This was a valuable opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns.

 Management group members

 RP MG Members

Some of the RP SIG Management Group - from left to right Peter Hiles (Chair), Mark Bowers, Lucy Hossen, Liz Benson and Katharine Thomson 


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