Who Can Perform An X-ray Procedure?
Regulation 7.4. of S.I. 478 of 2002 states that 'A practitioner, a radiographer, or a person referred to in regulation 13, may perform a medical radiological procedure....'.
Regulation 13.1 states that 'The practical aspects of any medical radiological procedure .... may be delegated by the practitioner to one or more individuals ... in a recognised field of medical specialisation provided that individual has successfully completed such a course ... in radiation safety as the Medical or Dental council may specify.
In practice, persons other than qualified Dentists (e.g. DSAs, Dental Hygienists), or Radiologists (e.g. hospital consultants) may perform x-ray procedures provided that; 1. they have completed additional training in radiation safety as prescribed by the Medical or Dental Council, 2. the procedure has been authorised by a Practitioner, and 3. there is a Radiographer present.
The condition to have a Radiographer present was removed for Dental and DEXA practices in an amendment to the legislation in 2007 (SI303 of 2007)
As in the case of authorisation of radiological procedures, the operation of a DEXA scanner in a GP practices does not appear to be accommodated in regard to this aspect of the law, unless the practice has appointed a Radiologist to act as 'Practitioner'. In this case, the practical aspects of the procedure could be delegated, by the practitioner, to the GP or the practice nurse, provided that they have completed a course in Radiation Safety approved by the Medical Council.
If the practice has not appointed a 'Practitioner', then clarification on the regulations may be required from the Medical Council and/or the DOH&C. In either case, it is recommended that the GP in charge, and the operators of the scanner, should attend a Medical Council approved course in Radiation Safety.