METHODS: A structured questionnaire was mailed in 2008, 2011 and 2014 to senior medical physicists representing 23 countries. The questionnaire covers 7 themes: education and training including certification; staffing; typical tasks; professional organisations; resources; research and teaching; job satisfaction.
RESULTS: Across all surveys the response rate was >85% with the replies representing practice affecting more than half of the world's population. The expectation of ROMP qualifications (MSc and between 1 and 3years of clinical experience) has not changed much over the years. However, compared to 2008, the number of medical physicists in many countries has doubled. Formal professional certification is only available in a small number of countries. The number of experienced ROMPs is small in particular in low and middle income countries. The increase in staff numbers from 2008 to 2014 is matched by a similar increase in the number of treatment units which is accompanied by an increase in treatment complexity. Many ROMPs are required to work overtime and not many find time for research. Resource availability has only improved marginally and ROMPs still feel generally overworked, but professional recognition, while varying widely, appears to be improving slowly.
CONCLUSION: While number of physicists and complexity of treatment techniques and technologies have increased significantly, ROMP practice remains essentially unchanged over the last 6years in the Asia Pacific Region.
METHODS: A survey on medical physics aspects of IMRT is conducted on radiotherapy departments across Malaysia to assess the usage, experience and QA in IMRT, which is done for the first time in this country. A set of questionnaires was designed and sent to the physicist in charge for their responses. The questionnaire consisted of four sections; (i) Experience and qualification of medical physicists, (ii) CT simulation techniques (iii) Treatment planning and treatment unit, (iv) IMRT process, delivery and QA procedure.
RESULTS: A total of 26 responses were collected, representing 26 departments out of 33 radiotherapy departments in operation across Malaysia (79% response rate). Results showed that the medical physics aspects of IMRT practice in Malaysia are homogenous, with some variations in certain areas of practices. Thirteen centres (52%) performed measurement-based QA using 2D array detector and analysed using gamma index criteria of 3%, 3 mm with variation confidence range. In relation to the IMRT delivery, 44% of Malaysia's physicist takes more than 8 h to plan a head and neck case compared to the UK study possibly due to the lack of professional training.
CONCLUSIONS: This survey provides a picture of medical physics aspects of IMRT in Malaysia where the results/data can be used by radiotherapy departments to benchmark their local policies and practice.
METHOD: A survey was carried out between April 20 and May 30, 2018 by a working group under the Medical Physics Division of the Malaysian Institute of Physics (IFM). The survey form was designed using Google Form and sent to various public and private institutions nationwide that employed MPs registered with IFM.
RESULTS: A total of 106 responses (28% men and 72% women) were analysed. This represented 30% of the medical physics workforce. Majority of them had postgraduate degrees, but their clinical training is mostly obtained on the job with no certification. The number of low-ranking female MPs was disproportionately high. MPs worked long hours and achieving work-life balance (WLB) was a challenge. Factors that improved their WLB included working close to home, having a supportive manager and flexible working hours. Most MPs aspired to become professional and mentor younger compatriots, besides contributing to patient care and research. Gender discrimination was reportedly low.
CONCLUSION: Medical physics in Malaysia is growing and has a strong representation of women. In future, they would probably take over the top management from their male counterparts, whose number had stagnated. A united effort was essential to set up a proper clinical training system to train clinically qualified MPs.