Who Will Enforce The Legislation?
Regulation 23.2 of S.I. 478 of 2002 states that 'Summary proceedings in relation to an offence under these regulations may be brought and prosecuted by the chief executive officer or by the Minister or a person or officer nominated by the Minister.'.
The chief executive officer refers to the CEO of the HSE, who will act on the advice of a National Radiation Safety Committee, which is to be established in accordance with regulation 22.1.
The Medical & Dental Councils also have an important regulatory role under various regulations. For example, they are required to adopt criteria for clinical audit (regulation 15.1), and each installation must undergo clinical audit every 5 years. The MERU have included some practical guidelines on performing clinical audit on their website.
The HSE established a Task Force on the implementation of SI478 in 2007. This task force started the process of clinical audit by circulating baseline questionnaires to all medical and dental practices in the country. The task force has also established the National Radiation Safety Committee or Medical Exposure Radiation Committee (MERC). It is understood that the task force has also recommended that the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) should have a future role as the competent authority, overseeing the development of standards, and facilitating clinical audit, etc. However, this is likely to have a lead-in of several years.