Statement on the CQC's annual IR(ME)R report 2016

Monday 6 November 2017

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) annual IR(ME)R report is a hugely useful document which provides imaging departments and cancer centres with invaluable learning about patient over-exposure to radiation used in vital imaging tests and cancer treatment.

Dr Nicola Strickland, President of the Royal College of Radiologists, said:

“Patient safety and patient care are paramount in all imaging departments and cancer centres. 

"That this year’s IR(ME)R report records a three per cent rise in the number of reported incidents of over-exposure is related to the ever-growing demand for scans. The number of imaging related over-exposures in England in 2016 equates to around 0.003 per cent of the number of patient scans. It is rewarding to see that services remain very safe and vigilant to the potential for patient harm.

“The CQC also believes, as do we, that the increase in notifications is a result of good governance and reporting, rather than bad medical practice. Clinicians are becoming more aware of errors and are being conscientious in reporting them so others can benefit and learn.”

The RCR strongly backs the central recommendations of the report: that clear and thorough communication between clinicians, using standard operating procedures, and ensuring temporary staff are familiar with varying local equipment must be key considerations for all radiologists, clinical oncologists, radiographers and other hospital colleagues.