Portlaoise hospital's X-ray team hit the mark in health watchdog's new review

Staff welcomes positive HIQA report for its radiology department

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly




Radiology Department staff at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise

The Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise has welcomed a health service watchdog first-ever examination of its radiology services the hospital says found the to meeting national standards.

In the inaugural publication, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) included the inspection reports of Portlaoise and Naas General Hospital. They are both parts of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group. The reviews were conducted from November 2019 to February 2020.

The review found Portlaoise's radiology service is either compliant or substantially compliant with the national regulations.

Michael Knowles is General Manager of Portlaoise's hospital. He praised the staff who have also played a key role in the Covid-19 response at the hospital.

“We are very pleased with this report which demonstrates high standards of radiation protection for our patients. The Hospital is fully committed to delivering high-quality services. I would like to acknowledge the team leading the radiology department who are demonstrating committed and strong teamwork which has been fundamental to achieving this positive report. We look forward to continuing to maintain and improve on our performance against the regulations," he said.

The HSE says radiology department in Portlasoie provides services for adult and paediatric inpatients and outpatients in the locality and in the region. It also supports adult and paediatric emergency departments, theatre and intensive care units. Imaging services include general radiography, ultrasound, MRI, computed tomography (CT) and fluoroscopy.

About Approximately 48,000 procedures are conducted annually within the department. Of this number, 32,000 relate to general radiography. The number of procedures conducted in the CT room is 8,000 while 350 procedures involve fluoroscopy and interventional radiography. The radiology department staff includes consultant radiologists, radiographers, nursing staff, clerical staff and multitask attendants.

The HSE says Portlaoise hospital endeavours to reflect the principles of radiation safety in its priorities for radiation protection which include, for example:

-          Embedding clear lines of governance and accountability for radiation protection

-          Promoting best practice in the safe delivery of ionising radiation to the patient

-          Quality assurance of equipment and replacement, where appropriate

-          Incident management and sharing the learning, both locally and nationally

-          Education and training of staff and providing information on risks to patients

-          Monitoring the level of radiation exposure to patients and staff

"Focussing on these principles will enable the Hospital and it’s Radiology Department to provide reasonable assurance to HIQA, all healthcare staff and most importantly, to our patients, that medical radiation exposure is maintained at optimum levels and that safe practice is prioritised," said a statement.

In January 2019, the EU Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom was transposed into Irish law and gave HIQA regulatory powers in the area of medical exposures to ionising radiation. The inspections were carried out to assess compliance with the European Union (Basic Safety Standards for Protection against Dangers Arising from Medical Exposure to Ionising Radiation) Regulations 2018 and 2019.

PICTURED IN PHOTO ABOVE ARE: Josephine Lowry (Operations Manager),  Valerie Hovenden –(Radiation Safety Officer)/ Dr Ramesh Nagabathula(Consultant Radiologist) / Sachin Sivanand Polassery (Int. Radiography Services Manager), FRONT: Dr Hristo Marinov (Consultant Radiologist) / Johanna Kelly (Clinical Specialist Radiographer(US))/ Mike Rowan (Principal Physicist and RPA).