Thursday, 1 February 2018

Ceisteanna (221)

John Curran


221. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Health when he will sign a statutory instrument to give effect to the European Union (Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Dangers arising from Medical Exposure to Ionising Radiation) Regulations 2018; if qualified chiropractors will be included within the regulatory framework to ensure they can continue to use and operate x-ray apparatus as is the case in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5282/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

This question relates to the transposition of the medical provisions of the Basic Safety Standards Directive (BSSD) by my Department and whether chiropractors will be designated as referrers and practitioners in the transposing regulations.

Ionising radiation has many beneficial applications however as the use of ionising radiation increases, so does the potential for health hazards if not properly used or contained. The BSSD is an essential piece of legislation which protects the public, patients, workers and others from all forms of ionising radiation.

My Department conducted a general consultation on the BSSD in June 2017 and sought views on the provisions of the Directive where Member States had discretion. The Chiropractic Association of Ireland (CAI) was included in my Department's notification of the consultation process and arrangements were made to contact all licence-holders of ionising radiation equipment advising them of the consultation. Information on the consultation process was also posted on my Department’s website. No response was received from the CAI or any individual identifying as a chiropractor.

The transposing statutory instrument for the BSSD will revoke and replace existing regulations from 2002. The existing regulations do not designate chiropractors as referrers or practitioners. Chiropractors who refer individuals for medical exposures, carry out medical exposures or other related functions are not in compliance with the existing regulations.

The current regulations lack inspection or enforcement provisions, however, in the new regulations HIQA will have the inspection and enforcement powers to enforce compliance and contravention of the new regulations will be an offence.

The statutory instrument transposing the BSSD will designate those who may refer for radiological tests, those who may carry them out and other functions and in this regard I propose to designate nurses, doctors, dentists and radiographers as appropriate.

The proposed designation of relevant professionals is based on patient safety and public health considerations reflected in the advice of the Chief Medical Officer.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment has overall responsibility for the transposition of the BSSD. My Department will finalise the medical provisions of the BSSD in the coming weeks.