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Covid-19: IR(ME)R

Version 2. 25 March 2020.

A combined statement from the IR(ME)R inspectorates in the four UK countries responding to Covid-19 says that "we encourage flexibility within the legislative and regulatory requirements while ensuring that patient safety is not compromised."

However, the guidance emphasises that "No staff should operate radiological equipment without training."

Acknowledging that staff are being redeployed to where resources are needed most, the statement says, "It is important that you maintain training and supervision, particularly for high-dose and complex procedures, for example radiotherapy, CT, nuclear medicine and interventional radiology/cardiology.

"We expect staff to work within the limits of their skills, knowledge, and experience at all times."

The temporary registration of final year students and former registrants returning to practice, "may be entitled as IR(ME)R duty holders. Any healthcare professional not registered by a body recognised by the Health Care Professions Act 2002 will not be legally entitled under the regulations. Employers should consider entitlement of other registered healthcare professionals to act as referrers."

N.B. from SCoR- This part of the joint statement relates to the IR(ME)R Duty Holders Practitioner and Referrer only – this is relevant for anyone going back (eg retired staff) onto a register (a body recognised by the Health Care Professions Act 2002) or indeed joining the register for the first time (eg final year students etc).

Adequately trained staff who are not registered healthcare practitioners may be entitled to act as operators within a clearly defined scope of practice.

Essential and urgent medical physics tasks should be prioritised, whilst those with a lower risk to patients, can be delayed.

Accidental or unintended exposures should still be reported but give priority to high dose or clinically significant events.

"It is still important to maintain key safety checks before all exposures, including ID, pregnancy, exposure factors, and modality/body part."

Routine IR(ME)R inspections are currently suspended.

The statement comes from the Care Quality Commission, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.

Covid-19: response from IR(ME)R inspectorates.

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