- Staffing in Radiotherapy: An Activity Based Approach, IAEA Human Health Reports No. 13, 2015 (IAEA)
- Roles and Responsibilities, and Education and Training Requirements For Clinically Qualified Medical Physicists, IAEA Human Health Series No. 25, 2013 (IAEA)
- Setting up a Radiotherapy Programme: Clinical, Medical Physics, Radiation Protection and Safety Aspects, 2008 (IAEA)
- European guidelines on medical physics expert, Radiation Protection No. 174, 2014 (European Commission)
- Mills, M.D., Analysis and practical use: the Abt Study of Medical Physicist Work Values for Radiation Oncology Physics Services--round II, J Am Coll Radiol 2 9 (2005) 782
Medical Physics Staffing in Radiotherapy
The IAEA recommends that it is necessary to define overall staffing requirements, including those of medical physicists, for providing appropriate radiotherapy services to support efficient and safe care of patients.
Medical physics staffing levels have usually been calculated based on patient numbers (e.g. 1 FTE medical physicist per 400 patients) or radiotherapy equipment numbers (e.g. 1.7 FTE medical physicists per linear accelerator). However it has been recognised that these simple methods of calculating medical physics staffing levels are not adequate to capture the different levels of complexity of service amongst radiotherapy centres. As an alternative, an activity based approach has been developed in the European Union and USA and by the IAEA. The staffing algorithm developed by the IAEA requires inputs on patient numbers, equipment, and complexity of treatment techniques, as well as percentages of time spent on non-clinical responsibilities including teaching, management and research.
Introduction to References
The IAEA Human Health Series No. 25 provides comprehensive guidance on the roles and responsibility of medical physicists. IAEA Publication 1296 provides information on staffing levels for a basic radiotherapy service, while an activity-based algorithm is described in IAEA Human Health Reports No. 13 and the staffing calculation spreadsheet from the report can be found here. The paper by Mills links to work in the USA on staffing while the European Union recommendation can be found in the "Relevant Links" box on this page.