Medical Physics

Medical Physics at Cheltenham General Hospital

0300 422 4051

Medical Physics at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

0300 422 6117

We are healthcare scientists who support clinical services, research and innovation through combining our specialist knowledge and skills in the physical sciences and engineering with our understanding of biology and clinical practice.

Diagnostic radiology and radiation protection

The Diagnostic Radiology & Radiation Protection group is responsible for a wide range of diagnostic X-ray equipment including Computed Tomography (CT) scanners, MRI scanners, angiography X-ray systems, fluoroscopic X-ray equipment, mammography units, digital radiography and dental X-ray equipment.

Services are provided at the main sites of Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, as well as some smaller community hospitals in and around Gloucestershire.

We support NHS breast screening centers and community dental facilities around Gloucestershire and, through its commercial arm GLOSRAD, numerous private customers in healthcare, industry, education and veterinary care.

Services provided by Diagnostic Radiology include:

  • Commissioning of X-ray equipment
  • Equipment calibration
  • Advice on the purchase of new imaging equipment
  • Radiation safety testing
  • Support to clinical users for radiographic optimisation.

Radiation Protection Services include:

  • Patient dose measurements
  • Dose calculation
  • Training
  • Radiation protection advice and audit.

Nuclear medicine

Nuclear Medicine provides diagnostic imaging and therapeutic services across the Trust, with departments in Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospitals. The departments are staffed by a mixture of clinical scientists, radiographers and clinical technologists.

Nuclear Medicine uses a radioisotope attached to a pharmaceutical which is normally injected through a vein near the elbow. The radio-pharmaceutical is designed to be taken up by a particular organ and produces gamma radiation which is detected by the gamma camera which builds up the images.

Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine

Diagnostic nuclear medicine is located at both of the X-Ray departments. Cheltenham has two dual head gamma cameras, one with SPECT-CT capability, and Gloucester houses one SPECT-CT gamma camera.

Our diagnostic tests cover a wide variety of conditions and often provide functional information about an organ or system. The radiation doses to patients from these tests are equivalent to CT and X-rays.

Therapeutic Nuclear Medicine

The therapeutic nuclear medicine service is located within the Oncology Department at Cheltenham and includes the radiopharmacy.

The radiopharmacy produces and dispenses the radio-pharmaceuticals that are used for imaging and therapy purposes. Generally they contain an isotope called technetium-99m (Tc-99m). Other isotopes sometimes used are iodine-123 (I-123), iodine-131 (I-131) and chromium-51 (Cr-51).

Patients undergoing therapy treatments are given larger doses and the pharmaceutical given is designed to target and kill particular cells.

Cheltenham has two therapy isolation rooms in which patients can receive their treatment. Patients often need to stay in hospital during treatment until their radioactivity levels have reduced to a safe limit.

Non-imaging tests are also performed to check kidney function (glomerular filtration rate) for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Non-ionising radiation

Non-Ionising radiation physics deals with all aspects of artificial optical radiation. This includes ultra violet (UV), lasers, blue light and other intense light sources. The section also provides support for the use of radiofrequency and infra-red sources.

Services provided by the section include:

  • Support to clinical users
  • Advice on the purchase of new equipment
  • Equipment calibration for UV and laser sources
  • Safety advice for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines in conjunction with Diagnostic Radiology
  • Dose calculation for UV sources
  • Training for Clinical Scientists
  • Non-Ionising radiation protection advice and audit

Services are provided at the main sites of Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, as well as some smaller community hospitals in and around Gloucestershire. We also offer our services to other NHS Trusts and private customers.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy Physics provides scientific and technical services to the Department of Radiotherapy & Oncology based at Cheltenham General Hospital and also supports the Hereford Satellite Radiotherapy Centre.

We play a vital role in ensuring safe and accurate treatment delivery. In 2017 we delivered in the region of 2,700 courses of radiotherapy to patients from Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, South Worcestershire as well as parts of Shropshire and Powys.

There are a total of five external beam radiotherapy treatment machines (linear accelerators); four in Cheltenham and one in Hereford, which on average deliver 35,000 individual treatments (or fractions) per year. We also have one brachytherapy suite, a treatment simulation room and numerous treatment planning workstations. It is staffed by a mixture of registered clinical scientists and clinical technologists.

Services provided by Radiotherapy Physics include:

  • Commissioning of equipment
  • Equipment calibration
  • Advice on the purchase of new equipment
  • Radiation dosimetry
  • Quality assurance measurements
  • Treatment planning
  • Training
  • Support for radiotherapy clinical trials.

The service also helps ensure compliance with national guidelines and legislation and conforms to the BS EN ISO:9001 Quality Standard.

Training schemes

Work experience

Please note that if you would like work experience in the hospital, please get in touch with the Lifelong Learning Team

mailto:ghn-tr.lifelong.learningteam@nhs.net

Read more about work experience.

GLOSRAD

GLOSRAD, the Radiation Protection Service, forms part of the Medical Physics Department of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

We provide a service to all users of ionising and non-ionising radiation in the form of radiation protection advice and training, personal and environmental radiation monitoring, equipment audit and instrument calibration.

The staff of GLOSRAD are qualified Healthcare Scientists specialising in the field of Medical Physics and provides support to any user of radiation who must comply with current legislation.

We currently serve NHS Trusts, veterinary surgeons, dental surgeons, schools, universities and industry. We provide information on the following:

  • Radiation protection advice: Most employers using ionising radiation need to appoint a Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) in accordance with legislation. Our Radiation Protection Advisers can provide advice, comments and recommendations in the following areas: compliance and current legislation, room design, layout and shielding, siting of equipment emitting ionising radiation, siting of transport of radioactive materials, leakage testing of sealed sources, local rules and systems of work, investigation of incidents, personal monitoring, dosimetry and record keeping.
  • Radiation protection training: We provide training for radiation protection supervisors and a Laser Users Course. Please contact us for the next available course.
  • Ionising radiation equipment audit: GLOSRAD can perform critical examinations, commissioning and acceptance tests and routine performance checks that are required to be carried out on diagnostic x-ray equipment and Gamma cameras. A radiation protection survey carried out on site by ourselves provides an independent assessment of all aspects of ionising radiation equipment performance and safety and would typically include - assessment of room shielding and protective equipment, x-ray set measurement of tube output, kilovoltage, tube filtration, focal spot size, timer function, beam alignment and tube radiation leakage to assess compliance with legislation. Where applicable, Automatic Exposure Control systems, Dose Area Product meters, Image Intensifiers and digital imaging systems can also be assessed. For Gamma cameras we offer measurement of calibration set-up, energy resolution, uniformity of response, spatial linearity, count rate capacity, sensitivity and shield leakage.

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