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Code for Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure (RPS C-5)

ARPANSA is engaging in public consultation on the draft Code for Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure (Radiation Protection Series C-5).

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The Issue
Start/End Date: 
Friday 23 February 2018 - 09:00 to Friday 25 May 2018 - 17:00

What is Medical Exposure?

Exposure incurred by patients for the purposes of medical diagnosis or treatment; by carers and comforters; and by volunteers subject to exposure as part of a program of biomedical research.

What is the Medical Exposure Code?

In 2008 ARPANSA published the Code of Practice for Radiation Protection in the Medical Applications of Ionizing Radiation (2008) (RPS 14). Since that time, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published the Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards, General Safety Requirements Part 3 (GSR3).

The new Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure (RPS C-5) code was drafted to align with the IAEA‑GSR3 document and thus, world’s best practice in radiation protection in the medical use of ionising radiation. The Code must be used, where relevant, in conjunction with the Code for Radiation Protection in Planned Exposure Situations (2016) (RPS C-1), which sets out the requirements in Australia for the protection of occupationally exposed persons, the public, and the environment, in planned exposure situations.

How has the draft code been changed?

As part of the alignment process with international best practice, the new Code has sought to expand and clarify some basic principles relating to the radiation protection of patients. Some examples of these changes are as follows:

  • While overall responsibility for a procedure rests with the radiological medical practitioner, the medical radiation team (clinicians, physicists, technologists) has a collaborative responsibility to ensure optimal use of equipment in the conduct of a procedure.
  • The new Code uses the term ‘medical physicist’ instead of the term ‘qualified expert’, however the definition of medical physicist in the new code is essentially equivalent to that of qualified expert in RPS 14 and allows the relevant regulatory authority to recognise a person as competent to perform these tasks.
  • The new Code adopts a graded approach to the level of involvement of the medical physicist. In radiotherapy the existing requirement from RPS 14 that calibration, dosimetry and quality assurance be conducted by or under the supervision of a medical physicist remains. In diagnostic (radiography, nuclear medicine) or image guided interventional procedures these tasks may be conducted by, under the supervision of, or with the documented advice of a medical physicist, with the level of involvement commensurate with the complexity and risk of the procedures. Requirements for medical physicists are well established in radiotherapy, however in diagnostic imaging and interventional radiology the role of medical physicists is less prominent. The term ‘medical physicist’ as defined in the proposed code will allow persons who, in future, might not qualify as being medical physicists to continue to perform their functions. However, the use of the term ‘medical physicist’ in the proposed code should serve to remind all stakeholders that there is an intention that, ultimately, only accredited medical physicists will be performing these functions.
  • The new Code requires exposures to be justified by means of communication between the radiological medical practitioner and the referrer. This would normally happen through a written (including electronic) referral that provides the information necessary for the radiological medical practitioner to assess the suitability of the proposed exposure and provides the referrer’s contact details for further communication as necessary. Relevant referral guidelines are to be used in the justification of diagnostic medical exposures. Special attention is to be given when justifying procedures for paediatric patients, pregnant patients and breast-feeding patients.

Is a Commonwealth regulatory impact statement required?

The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) advised ARPANSA that no consultation Regulatory Impact Statement was necessary for the new Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure (RPS C-5) code as the proposed code does not substantially alter existing requirements and will predominantly bring into effect internationally agreed best-practice standards that are considered appropriate for the Australian clinical environment.

What do I need to do?

The draft Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure (RPS C-5) code is now available for public comment. We are seeking the views of the public and particularly those in the medical radiation community to assist us in finalising this document.

PDF icon Draft Code for Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure (RPS C-5)
File Draft Code for Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure (RPS C-5)

PDF icon Readers guide: Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure
File Readers guide: Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure

The final Code for Radiation Protection in Medical Exposure (2019) (RPS C-5) is now available.


23 Feb 2018 - 09:00
25 May 2018 - 17:00
Days Remaining 0 of 91

The following formal submissions have been made public.

Kym Rykers

Submitted: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 09:41

Please refer to uploaded document

Nigel Freeman & Thuraisamy Ravichander, Canberra

Submitted: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 15:57

The attached PDF addressed issues of Definitions/Glossary - "Medical Physicist" & “Competence”

NSW Environment Protection Authority

Submitted: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 15:27

Please see attached comments from the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)

Submitted: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 13:28

Please find the RACGP's submission in the uploaded document.

Siemens Healthcare Pty Ltd

Submitted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 17:04

Please find attached submission on behalf of Siemens Healthineers.

Stewart Midgley

Submitted: Monday, May 21, 2018 - 10:17

Please find attached my comments to the draft

Tomas Kron

Submitted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 19:12

Thank you very much for the opportunity to comment on this important document. Please find my comments attached.
Please note that these comments do not necessarily reflect the view of my employer.
Best wishes
Tomas Kron

Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Submitted: Friday, May 25, 2018 - 16:14

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services provides both its own specific comments in relation to the proposed Code and the comments of participants as recorded by the Department during an information session conducted by the Department in relation to the proposed Code.