HERCA/Medical Applications/ Meeting between European radiation protection authorities and major stakeholders on justification of medical imaging procedures leading to commitments to contribute to improving justification in medical imaging

Brussels, 26 September 2014

On 26 September 2014 HERCA (Heads of the European Radiological Protection Competent Authorities) organised a multi stakeholder meeting kindly hosted by the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control in its premises in Brussels. The objective of the meeting was to exchange views with a variety of key stakeholders on issues with regard to the application of the principle of justification in medical imaging procedures and the justification process. The principle of justification requires that for each medical imaging procedure, the positive contribution to patient care sufficiently outweighs any possible detriment caused by the radiation exposure, taking into account alternative examination techniques involving no or less radiation exposure.

HERCA, whose objective it is to contribute to a high level of radiation protection in Europe, is extremely pleased with the willingness to collaborate expressed by all the participants at the meeting. These included:

  • >International organisations such as the IAEA, the WHO and the European Commission
  • A number of major professional radiological organisations such as the ESR (including its paediatric sub-speciality ESPR), EANM, EFRS, ISRRT, EFOMP.
  • Patients’ interests, expressed by the PFPS-network of WHO.
  • Manufacturers of medical equipment, represented by COCIR,
  • WONCA, representing general practitioners –as typical referrers.

All organisations present welcomed HERCA’s initiative recognising the importance of the principle of justification of exposures in particular in the medical field. All of them welcomed the proposal to commit to measures to improve the justification process. Each of them committed to contribute to improving justification in medical imaging, identifying specific issues relevant to individual stakeholder organisations. Further concrete steps were agreed upon and will be followed up. The ultimate goal of these efforts is to avoid unnecessary imaging procedures, whereby patients would be submitted to unjustified radiation exposure, which would result in patients being unnecessarily exposed to radiation.

HERCA, in its discussions, has concluded that isolated actions by national radiation protection authorities –or, in fact, by any individual stakeholder- will only result in limited benefit. This has prompted it to establish a range of multi-stakeholder meetings where collaborative efforts can be discussed by all concerned stakeholders, in order that aspects of medical imaging can be substantially improved. In offering a platform for collaboration, through these multi-stakeholder meetings, HERCA seeks that actions undertaken or envisaged by different contributors will be transparent, compatible with one another, and preferably complementary and mutually reinforcing. When considered together, they will cover all the needs commonly identified.

The productive meeting in Brussels proves that this approach can lead to successful results and HERCA sincerely thanks all participants for their positive contribution.

For full name of participating organisations, please refer to the table hereinafter.

Participating organisations

COCIR European Coordination Committee of the Radiological, Electromedical and Healthcare IT Industry
EANM European Association of Nuclear Medicine
EC European Commission
EFOMP European Federation of Organisations for Medical Physics
EFRS European Federation of Radiographer Societies
ESR European society of Radiology & ESPR
HERCA Heads of European Radiological protection Competent Authorities
IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency
ISRRT Internation Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists
PFPS Patients for Patients Safety
WHO World Health Organization
WHO Europe WHO Regional Office for Europe
WONCA World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians (European Branch)

Justification of Individual Medical Exposures for Diagnosis: A HERCA Position Paper

HERCA has recently approved the document “Justification of Individual Medical Exposures for Diagnosis: A HERCA Position Paper“ which is intended to provide the regulator’s view on the roles and responsibilities in the justification process of medical exposures. Improving the application of the justification principle in medical imaging is the responsibility of many stakeholders. In doing so the position paper considers the requirements of the new European Basic Safety Standards (BSS) Directive 2013/59/Euratom and discusses a number of emerging challenges associated with efficient, effective and rapidly changing healthcare systems.


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