In the new directive, the role of the medical physics expert has been specified more clearly and their involvement in medical procedures has been described more extensively. The medical physics expert is expected to act or give specialist advice, as appropriate, on matters relating to radiation physics for implementing the requirements for medical exposure (Chapter VIII) including those for equipment, optimization, responsibilities, training and special protection during pregnancy.
The medical physics expert takes responsibility for dosimetry, including physical measurements for evaluation of the dose delivered to the patient and other individuals subject to medical exposure, give advice on medical radiological equipment, and contribute in particular to the following (article 83):
- Optimization of the radiation protection of patients and other individuals subject to medical exposure, including the application and use of diagnostic reference levels medical exposure, including the application and use of diagnostic reference levels
- The definition and performance of quality assurance of the medical radiological equipment
- Acceptance testing of medical radiological equipment
- The preparation of technical specifications for medical radiological equipment and installation design
- The surveillance of the medical radiological installations
- The analysis of events involving, or potentially involving, accidental or unintended medical exposures
- The selection of equipment required to perform radiation protection measurements
- The training of practitioners and other staff in relevant aspects of radiation protection
There might be some overlap between the tasks of the medical physics expert and the radiation protection expert for specific institutions. In the Directive, it is therefore specifically mentioned that where appropriate, the medical physics expert shall liaise with the radiation protection expert. However, the medical physics expert and the radiation protection expert may be one in the same person in some institutions.
The medical physics expert must be involved with all others entitled to carry out practical aspects of medical radiological procedure optimization – the referrer, the practitioner (i.e. radiologist), radiation protection expert, and any individual(s) entitled to act in this respect in a recognized field of specialization – the level of involvement being commensurate with the radiological risk posed by the practice.