What do we do?
Our work can be broken down into several key areas:
- We provide medical physics expert (MPE) services and advice to users of x-ray and ultrasound equipment across the organisation - mostly in radiology but also in the breast imaging unit, theatres and other areas of the Trust. We're involved in the procurement, commissioning and acceptance of new equipment working closely with the Siemens Managed Equipment Service and IISS program. We also provide and manage the quality assurance testing program for equipment in radiology, including optimisation projects in collaboration with radiographers and radiologists. This part of our work is a rapidly developing and expanding area as the Trust brings new imaging technologies on site through the IISS program and other service expansions.
- In our ionising radiation protection work, the Trust radiation protection adviser (RPA) and team coordinate the monitoring of occupational radiation doses to over 900 staff and testing over 50 contamination monitors. All persons working with ionising radiation must also have initial and update training in radiation safety and the majority of this is provided by the group, tailored to the radiation use in a number of areas across the trust. The RPA is also responsible for advising on new facility design, the use of personal protective equipment in radiation controlled areas and ensuring that all radiation use is properly risk assessed and controlled. The RPA and team have an annual program of audits to assess radiation use across the Trust.
- Our non-ionising radiation work, led by the laser protection adviser (LPA), concentrates on auditing non-ionising radiation safety across theatres, eye department and research areas. The group carry out regular quality control checks on UV treatment devices used by dermatology and are supporting new clinical assessments in this area. The LPA also advises on new laser facilities, PPE, risk assessment and procurement of new lasers.
- The group is responsible for disposal of radioactive waste generated on site by nuclear medicine, interventional radiology and oncology departments, where patients are administered with radiation for diagnosis or therapy. There are strict requirements for the organisation and permits from the Environmental Agency and we meet regularly with regulators to assess our compliance in this area. This area of work falls under the remit of the radiation waste adviser (RWA). The RWA advises the trust on the impact of radioactive discharges into the environment.
- In all areas we work in, we write, contribute to and support written protocols and procedures. We do this through a close working relationship with local management and governance teams to ensure safe radiation practices are in place throughout the organisation to help staff work in a controlled way with ionising and non-ionising radiation.
- We're active in research in both ionising and non-ionising radiation work and also support the work of trainees and students through teaching, training and project supervision.
In addition to supporting the Trust, the group also have contracts with other hospitals, vets and dentists in the area to provide radiation protection services.