Updates from the ACPSEM NZ Branch
An update from Alicia Moggré, Chair of the ACPSEM New Zealand Branch:
As of the start of 2021 the NZ branch has a new committee ready to take on some challenges this year. The screenshot (apologies for the candid poses as was taken without first warning the participants!) was the first official committee meeting in February 2021.
The Wellington physicists (Capital and Coast District Health Board) have taken on the role of organising committee for this year’s branch conference NZPEM (NZ Physicists and Engineers in Medicine), which will be held via a virtual platform on the 4th and 5th of May 2021. The conference is usually very worthwhile to attend with a diverse range of both clinical and research-based topics presented across radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging and biomedical engineering. International registrations will be accepted so if you have work to present or are interested in the topics (or need some CPD points) why not plan to check it out. Register here.
New Zealand has a few areas of interest in the medical physics space. Currently there is a move politically away from having all radiotherapy clinics based in the main centres towards introducing some smaller regional clinics which will be quite a large change and has some implications for medical physics support/staffing.
We are approaching a potential issue with our DIMP workforce - the average age of an NZ DIMP is around 60 years old and there is currently nothing implemented to ensure continuity of the workforce for the future, so a working group on this issue has recently been formed to contribute ideas in this space.
The mandatory registration question (HPCAA in NZ) has some differences for the NZ situation as compared to Australia, so this will be an issue to be considered in the near future with guidance from the College. Recently a national Radiation Safety Advisory Council (RSAC) has been formally constituted, after a lengthy gestation period. The RSAC is a statutory body set up under the Radiation Safety Act, 2016. Its role and functions are prescribed in the legislation, but in general terms, RSAC is to provide advice to the Director for Radiation Safety, the Minister of Health, or the Director General of Health on matters and standards relating to radiation safety.
Three of our members (Andy Cousins, Brian Lunt and Johnny Laban) have been appointed to the six member council, so medical physics is well represented.