Medical Physics in Malta is a relatively young profession. It was legally recognised in 2015 and is a 2 levels profession: the Medical Physicist (MP) and the Medical Physics Expert (MPE). MPs are recognised by the Council for Professions Complementary to Medicine and this recognition is permanent. MPEs are recognised by the Commission for the Protection from Ionising and Non-Ionising Radiation and the recognition is renewed every 5 years via continuous professional development. Medical Physicists work in 3 different areas namely radiation oncology, diagnostic and interventional radiology (DIR) and nuclear medicine.
The island has 2 public hospitals, 1 oncology centre, a number of health centres and a number of private hospitals. Radiotherapy service is carried out at the oncology centre only, while nuclear medicine service is provided at a public hospital (diagnosis) and at the oncology centre (therapy). DIR service is provided in all areas, including health centres and private hospitals that have medical radiological equipment installed in their premises. In total, the number of registered medical physicists is 19 while another 5 medical physics trainees are expected to join the force within the next 2 years. Each physicist has either a Bachelor of Science in Physics or Engineering along with a Master of Science in Medical Physics and has undergone a 2-year clinical training under the supervision of an MPE.
The number of clinical medical physicists is not keeping up with the current demand, which is also confirmed when comparing with the staffing levels established by the European Guidelines of the Medical Physics Expert. Thus, through an initiative taken by Prof Carmel J Caruana, as head of the Medical Physics Unit within the University of Malta and supported by Malta Association of Medical Physics (MAMP), an all-new bachelor studies titled “Physics, Medical Physics and Radiation Protection” has been introduced. This initiative is a long-term solution to the shortage of medical physicists in Malta and internationally. More information on this bachelor’s degree can be found on the Medical Physics International Journal Volume 9 Number 2, 2021.
MAMP was legally established in 2019 and confirmed by Maltese Parliament as the only Association representing Medical Physics locally. Our mission is to promote physical sciences to the improvement of healthcare. Since then, MAMP worked hard to drive innovation, collaboration and professional growth through a number of initiatives, including annual scientific conferences, continuous professional development and involvement within international communities such as the European Federation of Organisations for Medical Physics (EFOMP). The greatest achievement of the Association to date is the implementation of the international course “Data Analysis with Python for Medical Physicists”. More than 150 international physicists have attended this original 3-day course where participants were provided with the skills to implement programming in their clinical work. This course is running for the fourth consecutive year on 21st to the 23rd September, 2023. It will take place online. MAMP is pleased to gain EFOMP’s endorsement and EBAMP accreditation. MAMP’s website provides more information about this course.
MAMP has now achieved another great step by joining the IOMP community. Its members look forward to the new challenges that lie ahead and look forward to contribute and collaborate for the interest of patients (and their safety) and Medical Physics profession.
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