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Date: 20 May 2019

Time: 19:35

A short history

Birmingham has long been associated with the use of X-rays in medicine.

Although Wilhem Roentgen discovered X-rays in 1896, it was a Birmingham surgeon, Major John Hall-Edwards, who first applied the new technology to medical treatment.

At this time the effect of exposure to radiation was unknown. Along with Marie Curie, Hall-Edwards became one of the first X-ray martyrs. In 1908 his left hand and arm were amputated, and he later lost the fingers of his right hand. It was appropriate then, that a radiation protection service should have started in Birmingham.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital service began in 1949, becoming the Regional Radiation Protection Service in 1960, implementing the Code of Practice for the Protection of Persons Exposed to Ionising Radiations for the majority of staff in the West Midlands region. The RRPPS, as it became known, relocated to purpose-built laboratories in 1982 and expanded to become the largest NHS provider of personal dosimetry in the UK. Dose records are maintained for more than 80,000 radiation workers. RRPPSĀ has since moved to new, purpose built premises, in Kings Norton off the Queen Elizabeth Hospital site.

RRPPS employs over thirty staff, comprising clerical officers, clinical technologists and clinical scientists, to cover protection of ionising and non-ionising radiation, providing guidance, interpretation and training for implementation of new regulations, and an instrument calibration service.

ISO 9000 was awarded to the department in June 2000.

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