Requirements for radiation oncology physics in Australia and New Zealand

  • L. Oliver
  • R. Fitchew
  • J. Drew
ACPSEM Position Paper


This Position Paper reviews the role, standards of practice, education, training and staffing requirements for radiation oncology physics. The role and standard of practice for an expert in radiation oncology physics, as defined by the ACPSEM, are consistent with the IAEA recommendations. International standards of safe practice recommend that this physics expert be authorised by a Regulatory Authority (in consultation with the professional organisation). In order to accommodate the international and AHTAC recommendations or any requirements that may be set by a Regulatory Authority, the ACPSEM has defined the criteria for a physicist-in-training, a base level physicist, an advanced level physicist and an expert radiation oncology physicist. The ACPSEM shall compile separate registers for these different radiation oncology physicist categories. What constitutes a satisfactory means of establishing the number of physicists and support physics staff that is required in radiation oncology continues to be debated. The new ACPSEM workforce formula (Formula 2000) yields similar numbers to other international professional body recommendations. The ACPSEM recommends that Australian and New Zealand radiation oncology centres should aim to employ 223 and 46 radiation oncology physics staff respectively. At least 75% of this workforce should be physicists (168 in Australia and 35 in New Zealand). An additional 41 registrar physicist positions (34 in Australia and 7 in New Zealand) should be specifically created for training purposes. These registrar positions cater for the present physicist shortfall, the future expansion of radiation oncology and the expected attrition of radiation oncology physicists in the workforce. Registrar physicists shall undertake suitable tertiary education in medical physics with an organised in-house training program. The rapid advances in the theory and methodology of the new technologies for radiation oncology also require a stringent approach to maintaining a satisfactory standard of practice in radiation oncology physics. Appropriate on-going education of radiation oncology physicists as well as the educating of registrar physicists is essential. Institutional management and the ACPSEM must both play a key role in providing a means for satisfactory staff tuition on the safe and expert use of existing and new radiotherapy equipment.


Professional requirements radiation oncology physics 


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Copyright information

© Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Oliver
    • 1
  • R. Fitchew
    • 2
  • J. Drew
    • 3
  1. 1.Radiation Oncology DepartmentRoyal North Shore HospitalSt. Leonards
  2. 2.Department of Therapeutic PhysicsRoyal Brisbane HospitalHerston
  3. 3.Medical Physics DepartmentThe Westmead HospitalWestmead

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