Although the law restricting MRI use is not due for implementation until 30 April 2008, Slovakia decided to implement it in advance, and the European Commission has defended that country’s decision.
However, by implementing the directive, Gabriel Krestin, professor and chairman of the Department of Radiology at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, and a member of the Alliance for MRI pointed out that, in Slovakia now, ‘… a worker could sue the hospital, or the companies could stop maintaining the machines because it’s illegal for their workers to maintain or service the machines. So practically, it’s illegal to use MR in that country.’
Dr Stephen Keevil Consultant Physicist and Head of Magnetic Resonance Physics at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, as well as Honorary Senior Lecturer in Imaging Sciences at King’s College London, and a leading member of the Alliance for MRI, added: ‘The assumption that Slovakia is making is incorrect. The Crozier study* demonstrates that continuing with MRI in that country is now illegal.
As reported in European Hospital (vol 16 issue 2/07) the Alliance for MRI aims to have The Electromagnetic Fields Directive 2004/40/EC amended before its implementation date next year.
On behalf of the Alliance, Dr Keevil has presented the commission with findings of research carried out by Professor Stuart Crozier, which was commissioned by the UK Health and Safety Executive. This study shows that anyone standing within about one metre of an MRI scanner while it is acquiring images will exceed the exposure limits set out in the directive.
Following concerns about the accuracy of information (limits) behind the directive expressed by the Alliance and leading radiologists, Vladimír pidla, the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, met with members of the European Society of Radiology (ESR), and he authorised the creation of a working group, to include ESR members. The results of this study are due in October or November this year.
Referred to as the ‘Crozier study’, this was officially presented on 13 June 2007. It has confirmed concerns that limits set in the directive would restrict the use of MRI.
This study, commissioned by the UK Health and Safety Executive and undertaken by Professor Stuart Crozier, has been published as two papers in the Proceedings of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM).
Details: www.allianceformri.org – ‘background documentation’ section.