Report finds 3% increase in radiation incidents

The number of reported incidents of radiation overexposure to patients from imaging tests and cancer treatment increased by 3% in the U.K. during 2016, according to the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) annual Ionizing Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations report.

The Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) said the CQC's IR(ME)R annual report 2016 is a "hugely useful" document for imaging departments and cancer centers on the overexposure of patients to radiation in imaging tests and cancer treatment. RCR President Dr. Nicola Strickland noted the increase equates to around 0.003% of all patient scans in England in 2016.

"It is rewarding to see that services remain very safe and vigilant to the potential for patient harm," she said in a statement. "CQC also believes, as do we, that the increase in notifications is a result of good governance and reporting, rather than bad medical practice. Clinicians are becoming more aware of errors and are being conscientious in reporting them so others can benefit and learn."

Strickland said the RCR strongly backs the report's central recommendations: that clear and thorough communication between clinicians, using standard operating procedures, and ensuring temporary staff are familiar with varying local equipment, must be key considerations for all radiologists, clinical oncologists, radiographers, and other hospital colleagues.

The report can be found on the CQC's website.

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