A review of international and developed practices of medical physics from a legislative and regulatory point of view and its applicability and comparison with Pakistan

  • Mishkat Ali JafriEmail author
  • Salman Farrukh
  • Nasir Ilyas
  • Sajjad Ahmed Memon
Review Paper


The importance of the medical physics profession and medical physicists is widely recognized by the international bodies like ILO, IAEA, EC, etc. The description of a medical physicist’s qualification framework, their role and responsibilities have been addressed in the legislative and regulatory frameworks of developed countries like the USA (in 10CFR) and the EC (EC RP 174) and less comprehensively in developing counties like Pakistan. AFOMP has contributed positively in various regulatory and policy matters regarding the medical physics practices in Asian countries. Furthermore, the recommendations of IAEA’s regional meeting on “Medical Physics in Europe—Current Status and Future Perspective” in Vienna, 2015, address the need and mechanism of a harmonized framework for medical physicists’ qualifications. The lack of a comprehensive professional recognition framework becomes more challenging when we see that hi-tech diagnostic (e.g. PET CT) and therapeutic (e.g. cyberknife, VMAT, tomotherapy, etc.) modalities are now available in many parts of the world, including Pakistan which still have a basic level of medical physics qualification and practices. Therefore, international efforts like the above-mentioned IAEA-EC meeting in 2015; and by AFOMP activities related to training, qualification and recognition of medical physicists can provide a pathway to further improve medical physics practices in the developing world. The objective of this review is to (i) summarize the international practices for the legislation and regulation of medical physics, (ii) provide a brief overview of the medical physics practices in Pakistan and (iii) discuss the applicability of the IAEA-EC meeting’s recommendations to the case of Pakistan. The review highlights the areas which are addressed in IAEA-EC meeting and could be beneficial to other nations as well, particularly, for low and middle income countries. The review also presents few suggestions how to progress with the medical physics profession in developing countries in general, and in Pakistan in particular. These suggestions also include further possible pathway the IAEA could consider, like IAEA project or meetings, to further strengthen the medical physics profession globally.


Legislative and regulatory framework Qualification and certification of medical physicists IAEA recommendations 



The authors acknowledge the assistance of W H Round in the preparation of this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Mishkat Ali Jafri, Salman Farrukh, Nasir Ilyas, Sajjad Memon declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


  1. 1.
    International Labour Office (2012) International Standard Classification of Occupations, ISCO-08, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    International Atomic Energy Agency (2014) Radiation protection and safety of radiation sources: International Basic Safety Standards, GSR Part 3, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    International Atomic Energy Agency (2013) Roles and responsibilities, and education and training requirements for clinically qualified medical physicists, IAEA Human Health Series No. 25, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    International Atomic Energy Agency (2012) Bonn call-for-action, joint statement by IAEA-WHO, Germany.
  5. 5.
    International Atomic Energy Agency (2012) Proceedings of International Conference on Radiation Protection in Medicine—Setting up scene for the next decade, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (2017) Training of an authorized medical physicist, NRC 10CFR 35.51Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    American Association of Physicists in Medicine (2009) Mission Statement.
  8. 8.
    American Board of Medical Physicists (2017)
  9. 9.
    American Board of Radiology (2017) Initial certification–medical physics.
  10. 10.
    European Council Directive (2013) Basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionizing radiation, EC Directive 2013/59/EURATOM.
  11. 11.
    European Commission (2014) European Guidelines on medical physics expert, EC RP 174, LuxemburgGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Stefanoyiannis AP et al (2008) Education and training of medical physicists in Europe. J. Eng. Sci. Technol. Rev. 1:62–65.
  13. 13.
    IAEA-Regional Cooperative Agreement, Strengthening medical physics through education and training, RAS6038.
  14. 14.
  15. 15.
    Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, Radiation protection in radiotherapy, radiation protection series no 14.3Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    American Association of Physicists in Medicine (2017) Government affairs—state regulations and licensure.
  17. 17.
    The ACPSEM Register of Qualified Medical Physics Specialists, Version 3, 2013
  18. 18.
    International Atomic Energy Agency (2015) Recommendations of regional meeting on medical physics in Europe: current status and future perspectives, Vienna
  19. 19.
    Bozidar C et al (2016) Medical physics in Europe following recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Radiat Oncol 50(1):64–72. Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ng KH et al (2009) The role, responsibilities and status of the clinical medical physicist in AFOMP. Australas Phys Eng Sci Med 32(4):175–179,CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Round WH (2011) Certification and licensing of clinical medical physicists in AFOMP countries. Australas Phys Eng Sci Med 34(3):309–315. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Round WH et al (2012) AFOMP Policy Statement No. 4: Recommendations for continuing professional development systems for medical physicists in AFOMP countries. Australas Phys Eng Sci Med 35(4):393–397CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Round WH (2011) AFOMP Policy statement no. 3: Recommendations for the education and training of medical physicists in AFOMP countries. Australas Phys Eng Sci Med 34(3):P303–P307. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    The World Bank (2017) Country profile—Pakistan.
  25. 25.
    Warsi et al (2014) “Challenges in occupational radiation protection in hi-tech modalities in Pakistan” given at the IAEA conference “Occupational radiation protection—enhancing the protection of workers—gaps, challenges and development, Vienna.
  26. 26.
    International Atomic Energy Agency (2014) “Occupational radiation protection—enhancing the protection of workers—gaps, challenges and development”, Summary of Contributed Papers, Vienna.
  27. 27.
    Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (2018) Annual report 2018, IslamabadGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Basim et al (2011) Medical physics education in Pakistan—an overview. In: S. Tabakv (ed) Medical physics and engineering; education and training. International Centre of Theoretical Physics, Trieste, pp 65–72Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Nosheen et al (2015) Dismal awareness about radiation hazards among healthcare radiation workers: point to ponder? Pak J Radiol 25(4):P154–P159Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    International Atomic Energy Agency (2016) Impact review mission.
  31. 31.
    Abbasi et al (2016) Implementation of quality medical physics training in a low-middle income country—sharing experience from a tertiary care JCIA-accredited university hospital. J Appl Clin Med Phys 17(6):454–456Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (2004) Regulations on radiation protection (PAK/904), IslamabadGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Evans S et al (2016) The European Federation of Organisations for Medical Physics. Policy Statement No. 7.1: the roles, responsibilities and status of the medical physicist including the criteria for the staffing levels in a Medical Physics Department approved by EFOMP Council on 5th February 2016″, Physica Medica. Eur J Med Phys 32(4):P533–P540Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Business AdministrationKarachiPakistan
  2. 2.Atomic Energy Medical Centre, JPMCKarachiPakistan
  3. 3.Institute of Space and Planetary AstrophysicsUniversity of KarachiKarachiPakistan
  4. 4.Nuclear Institute of Medicine and RadiotherapyJamshoroPakistan

Personalised recommendations