If you are planning a new Practice, it is important to engage and use the services of an RPA in good time. We often find that we are only approached at the latter stages of this process. We are sometimes asked to start a contract only a few days prior to the opening of the Practice and the inevitable CQC inspection, but this may well be too late.
The Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 require the RPA to be consulted about the plans for the Practice to ensure that equipment and room layout are designed to restrict the exposure of staff, visitors and patients. We are able to provide detailed advice on room design based on published radiation safety data. Equipment suppliers often recommend ‘lead-lining’ as standard, and without the advice of a certificated RPA you may install un-necessary shielding at significant cost. The positioning of the x-ray set and its controls can also make a large difference to the radiation safety of staff and visitors. The nominal cost of obtaining our advice at the planning stage may end up saving the Practice significant amounts of money.
New dental practices must register with HSE. Since the registration process requires affirmation that an RPA has been consulted and appointed, an RPA/MPE contract needs to be in place before you can register. Recommendations in the radiation risk assessment produced by the RPA also need to have been actioned before registration can be made. You will need to ensure you leave sufficient time for this process to be accomplished before you open the practice.
The Regulations also require the x-ray equipment and its environment to be subject to a so-called ‘critical examination’ and 'acceptance test' to ensure that it is safe to use. While the first of these tests has, by law, to be completed by the installer of the set, it is normal practice for the acceptance test to be carried out at the same time. However, you need to check your contract with the supplier/installer to ensure that they will be doing both tests. Once the tests have been performed, an RPA / MPE (either yours or the installers) must review them for confirmation that all is well prior to the first use of the equipment. If your equipment supplier uses any form of postal test pack for these measurements rather than a service that provides direct measurements on the equipment, there may be a significant delay in getting the results back. Suppliers often provide an ‘interim test report’ before they send the postal pack off, but a look at the small print will tell you that they take no responsibility if you have used the set and the critical examination/acceptance test report shows that there are problems with the installation.
Remember to arrange your RPA cover in plenty of time. Our contracts cost a matter of a few pence per day – a small price to pay to ensure peace of mind and no last minute panic.
Planning a new Practice?
Additional useful information and links
Practices wishing to notify or register with HSE can follow this link
You can find out if your practice may be in a so-called 'radon affected area' by using the interactive map,entering your postcode and clicking 'show radon data'
If you need to do radon monitoring to find out if your premises have elevated levels of radon, one company we would recommend is
DENTAL RADIATION PROTECTION ADVISER