EU delays MRI scanner restrictions

26 October 2007

The European Commission has u-turned on a controversial directive which would have restricted the use of MRI scanners.

The EU directive had threatened to severely restrict their use by banning new applications and limiting staff operating times but has now been delayed for four years by the European Commission, allowing reviews of the risks involved. (See European Directive on radiation exposure will ban MRI scans)

Liberal Democrat MEP Liz Lynne, Vice President of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, had campaigned hard for a delay after outcries from leading scientists and experts in the UK. She today expressed relief at the decision:

"The Commission's u-turn is a victory for common sense. Health and safety legislation must be based on the latest medical and scientific advice, not non-existent risks and the egos of Brussels bureaucrats.

“The medical profession’s evidence has always been against restricting MRI scanner use, which is why I campaigned to have them left out of the directive in the first place.

"These machines are vital life-savers and have been used safely for 25 years. Limiting their use would have been a backward step in patient care.

"The guidelines imposed by the directive are unnecessary and overcautious. MRI scanners pose no known health risks, and medical staff are already protected under the Medical Devices Directive. I hope a four-year delay will give experts the time to prove this.”

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