EFOMP’s POSITION ON MEDICAL PHYSICS IN EUROPE, 2006.
The National Member Organisations of EFOMP agree to present the content of this document to the European Commission in the appropriate form with the aim to establish:
a) Medical Physics as a regulated profession in all member states. b) Medical Physics as a health care
profession. c) Radiation Protection in hospitals,
involving patients, working staff and members of the public, must be performed by Medical Physics Experts.
1. Current position of Medical Physics as a profession in Europe.
The 97/43/EURATOM Directive of June 30th 1997, on health protection of individuals against the dangers of ionising radiation in relation to medical exposure, defines the Medical Physics Expert as an expert in radiation physics or radiation technology applied to exposure, with responsibility for the radiation protection of patients.
Medical Physics is an internationally recognised applied science in healthcare. It is concerned with the application of the principles, concepts, methods and techniques of physics to medicine.
Medical Physicists have an important responsibility for the calibration, safety, quality assurance and quality control of equipment used on patients, especially equipment using ionising radiation. They also have the responsibility for the introduction, adaptation and optimisation of new equipment and the methods by which they are used in hospitals. Furthermore, Medical Physicists carry out the dosimetry and planning, which are essential for radiological treatments on cancer patients. At present, most large hospitals in Europe have Medical Physics Departments. Their services face ever increasing demands.
As well as being involved in clinical activity, Medical Physicists have a role in research and
the development of new methodologies and instrumentation for clinical use. They also have the responsibility for running training courses in medical physics and allied sciences for physicists, engineers, technicians and medical doctors.
Medical Physicists require a special qualification to perform these activities. Generally speaking, there is a broad consensus in Europe as to these requirements: Medical Physicists should have a University degree or equivalent, principally in physics, together with several years of specialised education and training. Furthermore, some of those training years must be spent in a hospital.
Medical Physics should be considered a
REGULATED HEALTH CARE PROFESSION. The IOMP has lobbied the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to include Medical Physics as a profession in the ILO classification of professions.
In most European countries medical physicists have set up National Societies of Medical Physics. These Societies have joined the European Federation for Organisations of Medical Physics (EFOMP). The main objective of EFOMP is to harmonise and promote the best practice of Medical Physics in Europe.
The importance of the activities carried out by the approximately 5000 medical physicists in Europe is, in itself, a sufficient reason for this profession to be recognised as a regulated profession by the EU.