Department of medical physics, University Hospital Centre Zagreb, Croatia
On October 31 2018, the Croatian parliament finally voted in favour of recognition of medical physics as a healthcare profession. So we are now officially “healthcare professionals”.
Why is the official recognition of so much importance? Because it opens the door to a change of the status of the medical physics profession, the introduction of the education, training and accreditation programme and the establishment of appropriate qualification framework for medical physicists working in the clinics. According to the Croatian law, these changes are not possible without recognition of medical physics as a healthcare profession.
First efforts towards the official recognition of the profession and introduction of education, training and accreditation programme were initiated more than two decades ago but were rejected by the authorities. It was the implementation of the EU Council Directive EURATOM 2013/59 into Croatian legislative in 2017, which strongly demands the involvement of the medical physics expert in the clinic, that opened a door for the recognition of the medical physics profession. As a consequence, changes of the national healthcare law were initiated by medical physicists and accepted by the Ministry of Health, and with the 1st January 2019 medical physicists are finally recognised as healthcare professionals.
Official recognition of the profession makes further development of the medical physics possible along with the IAEA, IOMP, EFOMP and EU Council guidelines, and will be followed by the foundation of the medical physics chamber with the appropriate provisions, and introduction of the medical physics education, training and accreditation programme.