A policy recently released by the Medical Radiations Practice Board of Australia (MRPBA) warns of serious repercussions for anyone purporting to be a radiographer including $30,000 fines for individuals.
Releasing the policy at this point is a veiled warning by the MRPBA to the State Government over its plans to allow nurses in non-metropolitan areas to take x-rays instead of using skilled radiographers.
The State Government plan means nurses with just 10 weeks of training by correspondence and two days of practical training will be allowed to take x-rays.
Up until now this has required qualified radiographers with three or four years of university training.
“We welcome the release of this policy document because it shows the risks for nurses and health services who take x-rays without a qualified radiographer,” said Andrew Hewat, VHPA Assistant Secretary.
The VHPA have been urging the Napthine Government to put a halt to its plans to use nurses in regional hospitals to take x-rays.
“The fact is that taking X-rays is a potentially hazaradous job that requires considerable skill and training,” said Andrew Hewat.
“Putting the job in the hands of under-trained nurses has the potential to put the lives of patients at risk through misdiagnosis.”
“In fact during a recent pilot of the program in Lorne there were numerous reported cases of failed X-rays that resulted in patients being subjected to repeated radiation exposure.”
“There are enough qualified radiographers available to meet the demand for x-rays, this plan is just about cost-cutting,“ said Andrew Hewat.
The MRPBA policy states that only practitioners who are registered with the Medical Radiation Board of Australia (National Board) can use the protected titles in the National Law. Prior to being granted general registration, “medical radiation practitioners must have successfully completed between three and four years of approved education and training, as well as a minimum of 1,848 hours of clinical training in the profession”. It states the penalties for “falsely using protected titles or holding yourself out to be a registered practitioner” may be up to $30,000 for individuals and up to $60,000 in the case of a body corporate.