Who Can Prescribe An X-ray Procedure?
Regulation 7.10 of S.I. 478 of 2002 states that 'A prescriber may prescribe a medical radiological procedure in respect of an individual and that prescription shall be in writing'. A 'Prescriber' is defined in regulation 2 as a registered medical or dental practitioner, or a person on a register which may be established by the Minister for Health & Children.
Regulation 7.11 states that 'A prescriber shall state in writing on each individual prescription his or her reason for requesting the particular procedure and the practitioner shall make arrangements to satisfy him- or herself that the procedure as prescribed is justified'
In practice, the Dentist will normally take the role of both the practitioner and the prescriber. However, it is important that some written record is kept demonstrating that the procedure was clinically indicated/justified. Where the practice accepts referrals from other practices, it should only be on the basis of a written prescription from a dentist, giving full clinical details.
In the case of GP practices, the GP is the prescriber. The issue as to 'who is the Practitioner?' is a little more complex.
As in the case of dental procedures, prescriptions from outside the practice must be in writing from qualified medical practitioners only.
Under an amendment to the legislation in 2007 SI303 of 2007, Registered Nurses are now entitled to act as Prescribers, provided that they meet educational standards set out by An Board Altranais.