HERCA activities on medical applications are under the responsibility of the WG on Medical Applications (WGMA).
This HERCA working group is interested in all radiation protection issues concerning medical applications of ionizing radiation for diagnosis, therapy and research, including patients and occupational exposures.
WGMA focus is on developing common understanding and approaches, where possible, regarding the implementation of radiation protection regulation in Europe including those relating to new medical applications and requirements.
In particular, the WGMA works on:
- Enhancing common understanding and approaches, where possible, regarding the implementation of the radiation protection regulation on medical applications, focusing on justification and optimization.
- Engaging in stakeholder involvement on radiation protection issues by:
- Enhancing the information exchange on best available radiation protection practices between regulatory bodies and other relevant competent authorities, professional bodies and organisations, professionals, manufacturers and suppliers and patient organisations.
- Enhancing the exchange of scientific and technical knowledge and of experience, between stakeholders' representatives and regulatory bodies.
- Co-coordinating national efforts under the umbrella of HERCA to maximize impact in stakeholder involvement.
Orientations and topics of interest for the 2018-2021 period
On 5 December 2013, the Council of the European Union adopted Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom laying down basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation. Member States had to transpose the new Basic Safety Standards Directive (BSS Directive) into their national legal systems by 6 February 2018 at the latest.
Since the publication of this directive, the WGMA focused its work mainly on issues related to the directive transposition including development of a stakeholder/HERCA platform for discussion through the organization of several workshops and multi-stakeholders meetings, and the publication of position papers.
Following this 4-year period, the WGMA plans to focus its work on questions related to the Directive implementation.
Stakeholders' involvement and interaction will still be part of the WGMA working methods.
Regarding the Directive implementation, the WGMA will assess the major changes which have occured since the Directive transposition and the possible difficulties on selected topics:
- Generic justification,
- Questions related to medical equipment (especially Art 78 of the BSS Directive)
- Clinical audits,
- Involvement of medical physics experts,
- Non-medical imaging - information sharing.
In addition to the questions related to the implementation of the Directive, the WGMA will continue its work on the following topics:
- Individual justification in radiology,
- Inspection by the competent authorities,
- Raising awareness of the relevant population,
- Nuclear medicine.
Up to now, the WGMA focused its work mainly on radiology and to a lesser extent, on nuclear medicine. However, two other fields of medicine using ionizing radiations, which expose patients to high dose levels, would deserve attention from the WGMA: interventional radiology and radiation therapy. Early 2018, the WGMA started an exploratory work in order to identify possible topics of interests for HERCA regarding these two fields, including patients and occupational exposures. Depending of the findings of this exploratory work, the WGMA could open new areas for reflection for the period 2018-2019.