Trust fined for radiation breach
Monday 7th October 2013, 4:51PM BST.
An NHS Trust has been fined £30,000 after a hospital radiologist was exposed to illegal levels of ionising radiation while using a CT scanner.
The United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust was also ordered to pay £15,128 in costs after pleading guilty to health and safety breaches at Boston Magistrates’ Court.
In a statement issued after the case, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the radiologist received more than double the annual dose limit for skin exposure in just over three months.
The employee, who was not named by the HSE, placed his hands directly into the main x-ray beam of the scanner at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital, resulting in overexposure to radiation.
An investigation by the HSE found the Trust had not carried out a risk assessment for the CT scanner to be operated in a fluoroscopy mode, meaning a safe system of work was not developed.
Speaking after the court hearing, HSE inspector Judith McNulty-Green said: “The regulations require exposures to ionising radiation to be kept as low as is reasonably practicable.
“In addition there are dose limits which should never be exceeded. In this case the dose to the radiologist’s hands was twice the relevant legal dose limit.
“As United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust failed to assess the risk of this machine operating in continuous mode it led to the radiologist and patients being exposed to radiation for far longer and to a much greater extent than should have been allowed.”
The Trust said it fully accepted the outcome of today’s proceedings.
In a statement, the organisation said: “We are confident that this was an isolated incident and have implemented a series of measures to ensure that it is not repeated.
“These include reviewing working practices for all staff working with ionising radiation, and further developing check-lists for all areas radiologists work in to provide a more comprehensive training record.
“It is important to stress that no patient was exposed to excess radiation.”