“Medical Radiation Safety Legislation in Professional Health
Most of the Australian laws and Acts governing health care lie within the State Law. The issue of being a state law implies that the laws vary from one state to another. The law offers information on safety issues about utilization of both non-ionizing and ionizing radiation on the patient. The tenets of the law ensure that the health risks are minimal, and the environment is protected from this radiation, which would be harmful when used in the wrong manner (IAEA 2011). The act defines the standards that should be followed, for instance, the allowed sources of radiation, premises within which the radiation as a form of treatment can be offered and storage of the radioactive substances. This paper analyses the Radiation Safety Act 1975 – 1999, by summarizing the Act and relating it to medical practitioners and their clinical practices. The Radiation Safety Act 1975 – 1999 concerns the safety issues in applying medical radiation technologies on health services consumers. The Act raises the issues concerning various safety issues that need to be observed such as the safety requirements in lesser scanning as a form of treatment.
According to Australian Medical Council Limited (2009) the Act gives patients various rights including the right of a patient of not undergoing treatment methods that involve harmful technologies at any time regardless of the medical or treatment circumstances. It could be a common clinical practice, among medical practitioners, to abandon precautions on medical technologies having a negative impact on patients. Gray (2013) posits that all citizens have the right to be protected from harmful radiations while receiving treatment.
It would be horrible to let a patient wait while he or she has a medical condition that is considered as an emergency requiring lesser treatment or scanning, which is then done without safety consideration (Healey, Sharman and Lokuge 2006). The Act provides the right to ensure that safety consideration in cases of lesser treatments or scanning is given the first priority irrespective of the kind of patient in terms of social grouping or financial grounds (Gray 2013).
The Act provides that patients have the right to decline any treatment case at any given time. In this case, a patient may not go through a forced treatment. This right ensures that patients can denounce treatments, which they feel uncomfortable or cannot withstand; patients cannot be forced to undergo such treatments. Patient should undergo treatment when they are aware of the procedures in use, possible outcomes, their consequences, and the safety aspects of any used lesser treatments (Attorney General/Minister for Health 2005). The Act also warrants that a patient signs that he or she agrees with the procedures being administered on him or her. Doctors may not administer medication on the patient in radiation technologies, without the patient’s consent. Such treatment procedures would be termed illegal under the Act and initiators may be subjected to penalty if the radiation safety Act is not put into use (Gray 2013). Some cases require patients to have witnesses to the signing of the medical procedure; in such cases, the medical procedure cannot be done if there are no witnesses to the signing.
The Act also provides that all Australians have the right of accessing data about a treatment that has been proposed by a medical practitioner or a group of medical specialists on the use of radiation technologies in dealing with patients’ medical problems. (HIMP 2013) The patient has the right to gain adequate knowledge that would give him or her some confidence in making a sound decision as far as the suggested treatment is concerned. People have various views on decisions made by others about their lives and the Act enforces understanding of this aspect of life among people (King, Brankovic and Gillard 2012).
Any person would be anxious about a treatment procedure when it is too involving. A case that would involve risking the life of the patient is very remarkable in the context in which the patient has to accept the terms and conditions in radiation treatments (National Occupational Health & Safety Commission 2002). The patient’s acceptance would be based on his view about the radiation procedure as well as safety, and he or she can exercise the right to avoid the treatment if the practice is very risky or costly to be administered (ICRP Publication 1998). The doctor may not have any right to object the patient’s decision of not consenting to undergo the treatment.
Sometime prescriptions may be too complex to give information about the health conditions to the patient especially if the radiation technologies are new. The Act gives patients the right of gaining access to own medical records to be in a position to understand the condition accordingly (Hilton and Whiteford 2008). The Act provides that no medical practitioner can provide irrelevant information concerning a patient’s treatment even if the next of kin had requested it. Some health conditions may push patients to worse conditions if they get to know about them. The doctors can hardly go against the wish of the patient towards the acceptance of a laser treatment in attempting to serve the interest of other people or the patient’s relatives (HIMP 2013).
Discrimination on safety within the healthcare facilities is also covered in the Act. Every individual patient has the right of not being discriminated against by his or her medical practitioners in terms of being considered in terms of safety (National Occupational Health & Safety Commission 2002). Discrimination could be of various kinds. A patient can be discriminated based on the kind health condition and the financial status in which case he or she may not get access to health services that require the latest technologies like laser treatment. X-rays should be administered to any patient willing to receive the treatment (National Occupational Health & Safety Commission 2002). A patient may be discriminated at the expense of another patient who may be respected financially or by status. At the same time, the Act tries to create an impression that all people are equal whenever it comes to health care service access (Sandra, et al. 2010). All patients have the right to access health care facilities or services if they possess the basic requirements such as the base payments for the services or any other demands by the healthcare professionals but safety issues should be prioritized at any given time (Mark 2005).
Poor treatment, misconduct of the healthcare professionals, mistreatment given to a patient may lead the lodging of complaints. The Radiation Safety Act 1975 – 1999 provides the right of a patient lodge complaints if their expectations or their safety concerns are ruined. Given a situation whereby persons may have a bad feeling about the radiation technology procedures administered on them, they can complain about it and present a case in the law courts (National Occupational Health & Safety Commission 2002). A person is given the right of not being abused mentally or physically whenever receiving a healthcare service. This case may come in when one is against an unsafe treatment or medical procedure, but medical professionals decide to force the patient through the radiation processes. A patient may not be abused when receiving medication whether physically or mentally since the Radiation Safety Act 1975 – 1999 provide adequate protection on the safety issue generally on medical treatments and more specifically on those concerning new technologies (National Health and Medical Research Council 1998)…”
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