Written Answers. - Protection against Ionising Radiations.

129.

asked the Minister for Health whether his attention has been drawn to the Code of Practice for the Protection of Persons against Ionising Radiations arising from Medical and Dental use, 1964; and whether he will consider publishing a similar code for practitioners in Ireland.

I am aware of the Code of Practice to which the Deputy refers. This code deals with administrative arrangements necessary under the National Health Service in Britain in addition to protection from radiation hazards generally including, in particular, the safety measures necessary to reduce the radiation dose to the patient and to ensure that staff are not exposed to radiation hazards.

We have a simpler problem in Ireland as compared to Britain. For instance all large radiation sources for therapy are confined to four specific hospitals here and these are operated solely by consultant radiotherapists.

Circulars issued by my Department in 1959 and 1963 to all hospitals with X-ray Departments directed attention to radiological hazards and the protective steps which should be taken in the interests of patients and staff.

The National Radiation Monitoring Service operating here since 1963 applies the safety standards set out in the Code of Practice to which the Deputy refers. It supplies a badge service and a consultative and advisory service to hospitals, radiologists and dentists using ionising radiations (the badges are pieces of film which are sensitive to radiation and are worn continuously—being changed every two weeks).

Three of the four hospitals with therapy departments (the other has its own badge service), all other hospitals with X-ray departments, all radiologists and most dentists using X-ray apparatus avail themselves of the continous badge service of the Monitoring Service.