Medical physics in Europe following recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency
Medical physics is a health profession where principles of applied physics are mostly directed towards the application of ionizing radiation in medicine. The key role of the medical physics expert in safe and effective use of ionizing radiation in medicine was widely recognized in recent European reference documents like the European Union Council Directive 2013/59/EURATOM (2014), and European Commission Radiation Protection No. 174, European Guidelines on Medical Physics Expert (2014). Also the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been outspoken in supporting and fostering the status of medical physics in radiation medicine through multiple initiatives as technical and cooperation projects and important documents like IAEA Human Health Series No. 25, Roles and Responsibilities, and Education and Training Requirements for Clinically Qualified Medical Physicists (2013) and the International Basic Safety Standards, General Safety Requirements Part 3 (2014). The significance of these documents and the recognition of the present insufficient fulfilment of the requirements and recommendations in many European countries have led the IAEA to organize in 2015 the Regional Meeting on Medical Physics in Europe, where major issues in medical physics in Europe were discussed. Most important outcomes of the meeting were the recommendations addressed to European member states and the survey on medical physics status in Europe conducted by the IAEA and European Federation of Organizations for Medical Physics. Conclusions. Published recommendations of IAEA Regional Meeting on Medical Physics in Europe shall be followed and enforced in all European states. Appropriate qualification framework including education, clinical specialization, certification and registration of medical physicists shall be established and international recommendation regarding staffing levels in the field of medical physics shall be fulfilled in particular. European states have clear legal and moral responsibility to effectively transpose Basic Safety Standards into national legislation in order to ensure high quality and safety in patient healthcare.