While the medical imaging and therapy community was still “recovering” from the World Radiography Day 2019 celebrations, the 12th EFRS Annual General Meeting, in magnificent Riga on the 15th and 16th of November 2019 ensured that the delegates and the EFRS board would work in a festive atmosphere. The meeting took place near the Freedom monument, in the heart of the old town of Riga where we become spectators of the city’s preparations for the anniversary of the Proclamation of Independence of Latvia by the People’s Council of Latvia in 1918.
In continuance of my participation-observation last year, I was delighted to join a wonderful group of 46 radiographers and 12 educators from 24 countries who have been investing systematic effort to work together “for radiographers and student radiographers across Europe”. The meeting agenda was once again overwhelming with 22 items divided in two days.
After the opening and introductory messages by the EFRS president, Dr J. McNulty and CEO, D. Pronk – Larive, a new election model for the upcoming board elections was proposed. The item monopolized the meeting during the first day. Of the two subgroup discussions planned, the first was dedicated to this, in order to obtain feedback prior to final comments by member societies.
The board presented updates on activities since the 11th AGM and proposed the action plan and budget for the coming year.
Following a short tea break, the final items of the day, the EFRS Long Term Strategic Plan & activity plan 2020 and the “RERP” ́Radiographer Education Research and Practice 2020”, an initiative embracing students and educacional institutions were explained.
Prior to the closing remarks of the first day, Charlotte Beardmore, the EFRS Vice President invited Edward Farrugia Wismayer, the president of the Maltese Society of Medical Radiographers, (SRM) who announced and invited delegates to their International Conference οn Medical Imaging and Radiotherapy in Malta, on the 7th-9th of February 2020.
After a hard day’s work, the Latvian Society of Radiographers had kindly organized for all delegates to visit the old town of Riga with tour guides and to taste some medical potions in Riga’s “medieval” pharmacy before dinner with live music.
The second day of the meeting began early, in time to discuss the remaining agenda items.
On the second day, following the election of the finance committee, the new EFRS members were welcomed, and the second subgroup discussion commenced. Where four subgroups convened in different conference rooms to investigate patient centered care. Interestingly, concerns were expressed on AI and its impact on the patient approach by radiographers who must not be only driven by technological advances. The 4 facilitators, C. Buissink, A. England, R. Evans, and C. Malamateniou presented their group outcomes of both subgroup discussions reflecting the pros and cons of the new election model as well as the significance of the human and a more patient centered way of thinking by radiographers, respectively. Several practice examples were presented from different EU states and tools (i.e communication strengthening, patient group involvement in department design, circulation of questionnaire on patient needs and satisfaction, use of identification badges with messages and “smilies” were proposed to enhance the approach.
Paul Bezzina, Senior Lecturer of the University of Malta, who leads the Evaluation Pilot project “European Diploma in Radiography”, presented the pilot of extending the European diploma to an EQF 7(Master) level. Analytically, he revealed that the first 5 radiographers in medical imaging and a radiographer in radiation therapy from Australia, New Zealand and Africa have applied.
In addition, Dr Jonathan McNulty underpinned the EFRS – ISRRT joint project on AI and the radiography profession as part of a series of EFRS projects and co-operations with European Organizations, i.e. CIRSE, ESR, EFOMP, HERCA, COCIR. Other related activities included the ECR 2019 evaluation of ECR 2019. Professor Louise Reinford, Section Head, Radiography & Diagnostic Imaging of University College of Dublin, explained the findings and the increased number of participants compared to the initial aim. The good news is that the research hub will continue at the upcoming ECR in Vienna. Moreover during ECR 2020, there will be 20 radiographer sessions including the 4 sessions of “EFRS meets Slovenia”, “EFRS meets the Netherlands” as well as the “ISRRT meets Canada” and the “ISRRT meets Japan”. ECR will allow for approximately 40 radiographer society booths while EPOS sessions will be conducted in one specified area only.
Before closure of the 12th EFRS AGM, I was invited by Dr J. McNulty, to deliver the ISRRT message and communicate the activities of the past year.
Subsequently, I congratulated the EFRS board on the progress and work they have invested in growing and working for radiographers and student radiographers across Europe. Yet, it was important to inform them that the work will be reflected worldwide via the ISRRT network and its collaborations with international organizations and decision making committees.
This was substantiated by illustrating the ISRRT activities within and beyond Europe.
Firstly, the ISRRT activities in Europe include:
• Hakon Hemly’s, (Vice President Europe) presentations during the Nordic Congress and Swedish week and
• Philippe Gerson, (Treasurer) participating in several congresses in Europe.
• ISRRT WRD 2019 special edition issue where the contributors from the EFRS were credited
• Joint work on AI and professional practice with the EFRS
Secondly, ISRRT activities beyond Europe include:
• IAEA Meeting on Cumulative CT doses, where as the Regional Director Europe ISRRT, I was determined for stakeholders to acknowledge the need of radiography education homogeneity and CPD to practice safely. (March 2019)
• QA/QC Guidance documents on DR, CT and mammography
• e- learning platform with free access to educational material
• WHO book on Medical Devices review
• Joint work with ESR on Safety Culture and CPD
Finally, the ISRRT constructive collaboration during the ICRP meeting in 2018 with our president D. Newman and CEO D. Katsifarakis led to an invitation for the ICRP meeting in 2019. During these meetings, the ISRRT will contribute towards the impartial recognition of our profession by stakeholders. This development is a step forward as ICRP publications are incorporated in the BSS and thus shape the way we practice in medical imaging and therapy.
These issues and more will be addressed thoroughly during the two forthcoming major events, the ECR 2020 in Vienna and the 21st ISRRT World Congress in Dublin.
At this point, I wish to praise the EFRS board and CEO for enduring the immense workload while maintaining the EFRS value.
For this reason, on behalf of the ISRRT board, I look forward and welcome all friends from the EFRS, and outside Europe to the 21st ISRRT World Congress on the 26th -29th of August 2020, in Dublin, hosted by the Irish Institute of Radiography and Radiation Therapy.
The ISRRT was founded in 1962 as a non-profit organization, and now has over 90 Member Societies representing more than 86 countries, over 500,000 Society members and in excess of 18,000 Associate Members.