Author(s): Soye JA, Paterson A
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Abstract Increasing concern has recently been expressed in the literature that the referring doctor's knowledge of radiation doses incurred during radiological procedures is inadequate. Such information may be particularly relevant when the expansion of imaging technology is considered. To assess this, a survey was conducted of the awareness of radiation dose and risk among health professionals in Northern Ireland. A questionnaire was circulated to 300 consultants and 200 junior doctors selected randomly from a range of specialties. Participants were asked about the radiation dose from a chest radiograph, the annual dose from background radiation, and to estimate the radiation dose and cancer risk from several common radiological procedures. In total, 153 questionnaires were returned. A mean score of 7.1 out of 18 was achieved (39\%). 26\% of doctors achieved a score of 50\% or more, and 20\% of respondents knew the effective dose of a chest radiograph. 52 doctors had received formal training about ionizing radiation, and these participants scored more highly than those with no previous training in this area (p = 0.003). Our survey confirmed that clinician awareness of radiation doses imparted during common radiological procedures, and the consequent risk to the individual patient, is poor. It identified that training does increase awareness about radiation dose. There is a need to educate clinicians about (i) ionizing radiation relevant to medical imaging, given their legal responsibility as referrers under the Ionizing Radiation (Medical Exposure) regulations in the UK, and (ii) their clinical role to provide accurate information to their patients.
This article was published in Br J Radiol
and referenced in OMICS Journal of Radiology