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?
No.

Are GPs qualified to carry out medical examinations under the Ionising Radiation Regulations and what are the criteria for qualification?
Only if appointed to do so by the Health and Safety Executive and after attending a one-day training course.  In the Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999  'Appointed doctor' means, subject to regulation 39(5) (which relates to transitional provisions), a registered medical practitioner who is for the time being appointed in writing by the Health and Safety Executive for the purposes of these Regulations.

 

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