What are the sources of medical exposure?
Most people experience medical radiation as a diagnostic tool through an X-ray (including dental X-rays). Alternatively radioactive materials may be given to patients when they are scanned to test an organ's function or to look for abnormalities. Radioactivity is also used to treat a number of illnesses (hyperactive thyroid glands and prostate cancers are just two of many examples).

Do CT scans give more radiation than a normal X-ray examination?
Yes, radiation doses from CT scans are normally higher. CT scans are X-ray pictures of a slice through the body produced by an X-ray machine, which rotates around the body. Typical exposures take longer than a conventional X-ray examination. However, these scans can give better diagnostic information.

Does having an X-ray or a CT scan make me radioactive?

Are GPs qualified to carry out medical examinations under the Ionising Radiations Regulations and what are the criteria for qualification?
Only if appointed to do so by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  Under the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 medical surveillance and any associated medical examinations can only be carried out by an 'Appointed Doctor' or 'Employment Medical Adviser' (definitions of which are in Regulation 2 (1)).  To be appointed by HSE, you must be a registered medical practitioner with a licence to practice who

  • holds as a minimum a Diploma in Occupational Health
  • has undergone appropriate training specified by HSE
  • takes part in Continuing Professional Development as required by the General Medical Council.

Information for doctors (and employers) and a list of appointed doctors is available at Appointed doctors - HSE


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