Dental Radiography and Radiation Protection
IR(ME)R Training and Enhanced CPD
• Staff registered with the UK General Dental Council are further recommended to undertake 5 hours of enhanced CPD in radiography / radiation protection during each 5-year CPD cycle.
What is IR(ME)R Training?
There is no list of items required for IRMER training that covers everyone. The training you need depends entirely on your duties.
For example, a receptionist who develops radiographs requires IRMER training different to a nurse who takes OPGs and intra-oral films. And their IRMER training would again be different from a dentist who uses Cone Beam Computerised Tomography (CBCT) equipment.
IRMER training requirements cover both the theoretical knowledge, and the practical “hands-on” training needed to do your duties. In the UK, your initial training course should have made you IRMER compliant, whether it was a Dental Degree, or a Dental Nurse Radiography Qualification.
However, times change after you qualify. You may start using equipment you were not originally trained on, like Digital Radiography, OPG machines, or intra-oral sets with variable mA and kV.
Under IRMER, you must undertake further theoretical and practical training, to get to grips with the new equipment and to stay up-to-date. Details of this further training, once completed, must be kept in a log book.
Legally, how long does my IR(ME)R training last?
This is not specified in law. You may need to do more IRMER training tomorrow, because a new type of x-ray machine has arrived at the practice. You may need to do it 6 months after a course because your memory for detail is not very good. You may not need to do it for a long time because you have an excellent memory (but you may need to prove that in court if there is a problem!).
If you are the "employer", also known as the "Legal Person", do not trust an IR(ME)R certificate that has an "expiry date". Such a date is completely meaningless and the certificate may give you a false sense of security that an employee has been properly trained to use your machines, or can remember all the legal and clinical details related to radiography and radiology. A certificate "expiry date" will not protect you from prosecution if there is a radiation accident.
The difference between IR(ME)R Training and Enhanced CPD.
The UK GDC recommends practitioners and operators to undertake at least 5 hours of enhanced CPD in Radiography / Radiation Protection over a 5 year cycle. The CPD must have aims and objectives, and there must be an opportunity to give feedback.
IRMER requires that you are “adequately trained” and “undertake continuing education” that is appropriate to your duties. It simply requires that the details of training undertaken are logged. It does not specify hours, or frequency of training.
Although there is a lot of cross-over, it is important to understand the differences. Just because you have received IRMER training, you will not necessarily satisfy the GDC’s exact enhanced CPD requirement.
The opposite is also true: the vCPD you do may not necessarily satisfy the IRMER requirement. For example if you have recently installed a new cephalostat, IRMER requires that you must know the theory of Cephalometry as well as have practical training before using it on patients.
How much CPD must I do, and how often, by GDC rules?
From the GDC: Radiography and radiation protection: we recommend that you do at least five hours in every CPD cycle.
The GDC do not recommend you do a certain amount every year, just that you do 5 hours per 5 year cycle.
Let's say your CPD cycle started on 1 Jan 2017, and you did a 5 hour course on this date. Technically, by their rules, you need to have done another 5 hours on, or by, 31 dec 2026.
But although this is acceptable under GDC rules, a court might decide that it did not meet the spirit of the IR(ME)R regulations
• Dentaljuce’s Radiography and Radiological Protection module provides enhanced CPD that meets GDC requirements.
• It provides IRMER continuing education on topics that are appropriate to most dentists, nurses, hygienists and therapists. The CPD certificate states IRMER compliance on it.
• It does not provide practical (hands-on) training for new radiography equipment, and does not give theory training for operating individual brands and makes of equipment: Manufacturer’s instructions supplied with the machines should be consulted for this part of IRMER compliance whenever new equipment is purchased, or new staff are required to operate it.