IPEM looks ahead
Life is brighter now, daffodils and tulips, longer days and the promise of more to come this weekend with the clock ‘springing’ forward. There is also reserved optimism regarding Covid. The mass vaccination programme has exceeded expectation in the UK. New infections, hospital admissions and deaths due to Covid have all reduced. However, we must still remain vigilant to protect ourselves as well as others.
IPEM welcomes a new Vice President and Deputy Director of SRIC
Basit Abdul has taken over from Dan Clark OBE as Vice President International. Basit is currently the Lead Healthcare Scientist and Programme Manager for Clinical Engineering Apprenticeships at Barts Health NHS Trust. Basit has been liaising with IFMBE over a number of years and is multilingual, a bonus for this role.
A big thank you to Dan for staying in post for longer than his term and achieving so much during his tenure, most recently a summer school in Nigeria to encourage engineering students towards medical physics, clinical and biomedical engineering disciplines.
Dr Mohammad Al-Amri takes over the Deputy Director of the Science, Research and Innovation Council. Mohammad is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Healthcare Science at Cardiff University. His research is on clinical movement analysis and related biomechanical methodology applied to degenerative and arthritic conditions.
We wish our new senior volunteers a rewarding time whilst supporting IPEM.
IPEM links with City, University of London for joint webinar series
IPEM has signed a memorandum of understanding with City, UoL to run four webinars through 2021. The first, ‘Sensors in Healthcare’, took place last week and was very well received. Professor Panicos Kyriacou spoke on ‘Optical sensors in traumatic brain injury’, Professor Tong Son OBE on ‘Optical fibre-based chemical sensors technologies’ and finally Dr Peter Charlton on ‘Realising the potential of wearables for health monitoring’. A video of the event is available, STEM in Healthcare: Sensor Technologies in Healthcare
The 2nd webinar, on 17th June, is on ‘Cyber Security in Healthcare’, with two guest speakers. Phil Burke coordinates medConfidential which campaigns for confidentiality and consent in health and social care to ensure that data within and around the NHS and wider care system is consensual, safe and transparent. He is joined by Burkhard Schafer, Professor of Computational Legal Theory at Edinburgh Law School.
The 3rd and 4th webinars, ‘AI in Healthcare’ and ‘Technology Challenges in Healthcare’, will be held on 16th September and 11th November respectively.
IPEM updates guidance on software production and sharing
IPEM has finalised their updated document ‘Advice on the production and sharing of software in a medical context, including spreadsheet, scripting and functional documents’. It will appear shortly on our website. Many thanks to the working party, led by Dr Warren Macdonald, Vice President of Engineering, for their efforts to bring this project to completion.
IPEM hosts the 2021 Peter Wells Memorial Lecture
IPEM will host this year’s lecture in memory of Professor Peter Wells, an event which rotates between IPEM, IET and IMechE. This will be a public lecture held virtually on ‘Advances in Cancer Care’. It will be a joint lecture with King’s College, London, where I am working with Professors Sebastien Ourselin, a very welcome new IPEM Fellow, and Stephen Keevil, IPEM Past President. Final details are being worked out and will appear shortly.
IPEM and MPEC
IPEM’s flagship event, the Medical Physics and Engineering Congress, will be a virtual event on 21st – 23rd September 2021. The Annual General Meeting and election of our new President will take place on Monday 21st September. An organising committee has been formed chaired by Dr Robert Farley.
We are hoping for 3rd time lucky with a live MPEC at the Research and Innovation Centre of the University of Strathclyde in September 2022. The President’s Advisory Committee has been working on an early bird planning programme for MPEC 2022 and beyond.
President’s Gold Medals for exceptional service during the Covid-19 pandemic
A suggestion was made at a President’s Advisory Committee meeting to establish an award of the President’s Gold Medal for exceptional service during the Covid pandemic. I took this to Finance and Business Planning and asked for 5 Gold Medals to be awarded in 2021. This was accepted and, as with the other President’s Gold Medal, will be overseen by myself and the Chair of the Prizes and Awards Committee.
The awards are open to individuals or teams. A nomination form will be available shortly with the deadline for submission. The nomination should explain in no more than 250 words why you believe the individual or team should receive this award.
IPEM congratulates Dr Leandro Pecchia
Congratulations to Dr Leandro Pecchia, an IPEM member, on commencing his role as President of the European Alliance of Medical and Biological Engineering and Science, EAMBES. This opens the opportunity for IPEM to develop a closer relationship with EAMBES.
IPEM and Government’s roadmap out of restrictions due to Covid-19 and variants
At last, there is light at the end of the tunnel at last with the government’s announcement of a successful vaccine roll out to date and the gradual 4 stage removal of pandemic restrictions over the next couple of months. Think of the scene from Dr. Zhivago, the train in the dark, dark tunnel and then bursting out into the stunningly bright snowscape.
IPEM could re-open Fairmount House on a limited basis in stage 3, after 17th May, and fully in stage 4, after 21st June. The earliest that we can consider relaxing the staff and volunteer travel rules will be in stage 3. Once in stage 4, however, all restrictions on volunteers will be relaxed. Live events will probably not be possible until we enter stage 4.
Governance of IPEM through the Board of Trustees’ meetings has been conducted virtually since April 2020 and will remain so for the April 2021 meeting. However, thoughts for the July meeting to be hybrid -face to face in York with an option to join virtually - are actively under consideration. The October meeting would then be face to face in York with a Trustees’ training session on the previous evening.
MPEC 2021 planning is currently underway as a virtual meeting.
All plans for the easing of national restrictions, and IPEM’s own plans within that, are subject to change by the government depending whether ‘bumps’ occur along the way with vaccination, test and trace, compliance with current restrictions, emergence of virus variants and response of vaccines to new variants, to name but a few. Michel Mirowski, co-founder of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator, once said in the early stages of his work “The bumps in the road are not bumps at all, they are the road”. Worth remembering this as we move to spring and summer.
IPEM and STP curriculum review
The National School for Healthcare Science announced an STP curriculum review which was open to individuals and professional bodies for comment. Even if we had not been in the current pandemic situation, the timescale for comment was unreasonably short. As a consequence, the comments on the STP curriculum submitted by IPEM could not cover the whole curriculum due to the professional workloads of those best placed to comment. I wrote to the Head of The National School asking for an extension of the deadline but unfortunately this could not be facilitated as the School was under pressure from universities for the details of the curriculum so the latter could prepare adequately.
We are receiving membership requests from a healthy number of new applicants. We welcome them with open arms. Please encourage your colleagues who are not IPEM members to join us.
Membership renewals should be completed by the end of February. If you have not done so, please renew as soon as possible. If you have problems with the renewal process, please do not hesitate to contact the membership team, Elaine Gears and Steve Mattin.
IPEM Honorary Fellowship
Nominations for Honorary Fellowship close on 1st March. If you wish to make a nomination, please use the nomination form on our website, and submit it before the deadline. Honorary Fellowship is open to non-members of IPEM only. Non-members of IPEM who are eligible to become Fellows in their own right are encouraged to apply for Fellowship in the usual way.
IPEM’s quarterly magazine, SCOPE
Our quarterly magazine has been in the hands of Redactive Publishing, and editor Rob Dabrowski, for 12 months. We have seen a very positive turnaround in this time and the latest issue exemplifies this. We are very grateful to Rob for his hard work, but also to the Chair of the IPEM Scope Editorial Advisory Board, Usman Lua, and his team comprising Drs Matt Aldridge, Mandy Price and Paul Doolan. A job well done, thank you.
IPEM support for a radioisotope manufacturing facility in north west of England
IPEM were asked to support this high value project bid late last year and did so strongly. There were just two remaining bids being considered by this time. Unfortunately, the successful bid was the one from the Netherlands.
IPEM records with sadness the death of Professor John Mallard
John Mallard OBE FRSE FREng was Professor of Medical Physics at the University of Aberdeen from 1965 until 1992 and known worldwide for his research on the development of radionuclide imaging, magnetic resonance imaging and in particular positron emission tomography.
John sadly passed away on 25th February 2021 at the age of 94. His end was peaceful, and of great comfort was that his family was allowed to be with him. Rest in Peace ✟.
John was a pioneer of his time and made a exceptional contribution to medical physics, the impact of which has impacted tens of millions of patients worldwide, who all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to his advancement of medical physics. Patient outcomes have vastly improved as a result of his work. An obituary will be prepared and published in due course.
Welcome to 2021, when unfortunately we are still within the grip of Covid-19 and its variants. The rollout of multiple vaccines offers some hope that our personal and professional lives will cease to be so disrupted.
IPEM and New Year’s Honours List
Congratulations to Heather Williams and Dan Clark on their national honours, MBE and OBE respectively, in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List.
IPEM Guidance documents
A clinical engineering task and finish group, supported by a team of reviewers, has successfully completed a guidance document on the in-house manufacture and use of medical devices. Many thanks to all those who contributed. The document is available as follows: https://www.ipem.ac.uk/ScientificJournalsPublications/FreePublications.aspx
Under the auspice of Warren Macdonald, VP Engineering, IPEM is now reviewing the IPEM Advice Note from 2013, ‘Advice on the production and sharing of Software as a Medical Device’. Please consider volunteering for this task.
IPEM have been represented on a joint working party with the Royal College of Radiologists, RCR, and the Society and College of Radiographers to develop new guidance on image-guided radiotherapy, ‘On Target 2’. A comprehensive document has been produced from an army of many tens of volunteers from all 3 organisations. This document has been reviewed and approved by experts within IPEM and returned to RCR who will finalise production and release in the coming weeks. Many thanks to all the volunteers who so willingly gave of their time.
IPEM and Science Media Centre
IPEM has commented, following a request from the Science Media Centre, on the availability and use of effective personal protective equipment for staff, as well as good ventilation, on non-intensive care wards to combat Covid-19 and its variants.
IPEM and training in clinical radiobiology
IPEM has commented on training in clinical radiobiology for physicists, radiologists and radiographers following receipt of a document questioning whether this was adequate across the 3 groups from an eminent medical physicist and 2 radiobiologists.
IPEM and Statutory Registration for Clinical Technologists
IPEM continues to push the case for the statutory registration of clinical technologists. In January, a number of written questions have been tabled in Parliament to test the appetite of government to follow this route. This issue has arisen through the national publicity surrounding the quality of work of unregulated sonographers as well as the restriction on working practices of clinical technologists in nuclear medicine.
IPEM and The Times
I was a co-signatory on a letter that appeared in The Times on 23rd December on ‘Cancer backlog’. This letter asked the government to acknowledge the scale of the cancer backlog, revisit cancer-related aspects of the comprehensive spending review and provide the investment required to super-boost cancer services and clear the backlog.
IPEM supports medical isotope facility in United Kingdom
IPEM has supported a proposal to establish £200m private sector funded medical isotopes facility on the Fylde coast in West Lancashire, with an estimated life span of 40 years and economic benefit of £4bn to the UK economy over this time. The final choice is between this location and one in the Netherlands.
If successful, the facility will provide 125 high-skilled jobs in the North West of England continuously over its lifetime. A further 60 - 100 workers will be employed during the 2 year construction phase, as well as approximately 150 additional supply chain jobs. It is understood that such a facility could provide up to a third of the world’s requirement for Molybdenum-99, the parent radionuclide for 99mTc currently used in the majority of diagnostic nuclear medicine investigations. The technology does not require a nuclear reactor, uses less electricity and generates less waste.
This facility would include a centre of excellence for doctoral training in nuclear science and radiochemistry, increasing career opportunities in these disciplines. It is estimated to provide approximately 75 graduate and post-graduate positions which could be linked to universities and medical facilities.
The geographical location of the facility would provide easy links to major internationally respected cancer centres in England and Scotland together with their enormous expertise in the field.
IPEM see this as a critical step towards ensuring the continued, reliable, safe, uninterrupted supply of these vital medical isotopes that underpin an important clinical service and thriving research environment for the UK and a strong export market to the world.
IPEM’s Trustees and Finance and Business Planning Committee have continued to meet virtually during the pandemic and lockdowns. The most recent meetings were on 21st January 2021 and 16th December 2020 respectively. It is looking ever more likely that my legacy as President will be ‘The Virtual President’!
Finally, this is the time to remember to pay your membership fees if you are not using direct debit. Our renewal rates to date have been excellent, so thank you. Please do make the most of your IPEM membership in 2021. Do get involved in Communities of Interest and Special Interest Groups, take advantage of volunteering and networking opportunities, attend events, and allow IPEM to continue to grow as a professional body and learned society.
Let’s be careful out there.
What an incredible year we have lived through! With Brexit, a global pandemic, two lockdowns, severe restrictions on work and leisure activities and so many virtual meetings ‘an impending sense of zoom’ felt like a very real condition! We know that we still face many of these challenges but hopefully, continuing social responsibility together with the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccines will make for a more ‘normal’ and enjoyable 2021.
The New Year should bring with it lots of developments across IPEM designed to continue improving the organization, delivering a better experience for our members and deepening our impact in the wider world. It’s an exciting time in our journey and we want you to be a part of it. Membership renewal notices have been sent out in the past days and we thank all of you who have already renewed. If you are yet to do so and do not pay by direct debit, please ensure that you do so by the end of February.
In January, the new round of prizes and awards will commence. This will include nominations for Honorary Fellowship and the 2nd IPEM and Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers, WCSIM, essay prize. The Master of the Livery, Martyn Wheatley, kindly invited IPEM members to attend the first of a series of Livery webinars and will continue to do so for the entire series. I reciprocated by inviting WCSIM members to attend the Peter Wells Memorial lecture and I have also invited Livery members to consider joining IPEM as Affiliates.
IPEM has launched a new open access journal, IPEM Translation, with Elsevier. We are very fortunate to have secured the proven services of Dr. Richard Black from the Bioengineering Department of Strathclyde University as the Editor.
The shortest day, or winter solstice, occurs on the 21st December when the number of daylight hours is 7 hours 49 minutes and 42 seconds. This is 8 hours 48 minutes and 38 seconds shorter than the summer solstice. By the time that I write to you again in late January 2021, there will already be a noticeable increase in daylight hours. Something to look forward to!
Thank you all for supporting IPEM, your professional body. I wish you and your families a very happy Christmas and a successful 2021.
SRIC and PSC have held their first meetings of the new term and have launched into their challenges with increased gusto.
The former has taken SIGs in general and the lack of SIGs for academia, clinical engineering and computing and bioinformatics as a theme. Work is underway to identify how best these groups should function to meet the needs of the new IPEM strategy, the latter being nicely described in the Winter edition of SCOPE by our CEO, Philip Morgan. Discussion of the changes with IPEM management, consultation with SIG Chairs and initiation of any new infrastructure required will take time but should be completed mid-first-quarter 2021.
Representation has been made to the National School for Healthcare Science by the lead station writers for the OSFAs, PSC Chair and myself in relation to how these exams will be framed in 2021 after a considerable amount of work.
The Devices Expert Advisory Committee of MHRA will now publish summary minutes of their deliberations on the MHRA website as their first step towards a more transparent UK, or should it be English, Welsh and Scottish, regulator. Summary minutes of all DEAC’s minutes for 2020 will be available shortly. Further disclosures are being considered.
I have written to Professors John Mallard, Joe Barbanel, Stephen Keevil, Slavik Tabakov, Peter H. S. Smith and Leandro Pecchia to congratulate them on becoming inaugural Fellows of the International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine in recognition of their outstanding work for our profession on the international stage.
The Peter Wells Memorial Lecture 2020 will take place online at 11.00am on 9th December. The title is ‘The ups and downs of machine learning for prosthetic control’ and will be given by Dr Kia Nazarpour from the University of Edinburgh. Attendance is free but registration is required. This is a joint venture between IET, IMechE and IPEM.
Congratulations to the winner of the 2020 and inaugural IPEM and Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers Essay Prize, James Bezer, a PhD student in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College. His essay and biography will appear on the websites of both organisations.
I would kindly ask that anyone writing documents for intended circulation, including manuscripts, guidance notes and updates on previous IPEM information make themselves aware of the IPEM approval processes required for these documents to be associated with IPEM.
Finally, I would like to introduce Paul Barrett, who joined us very recently as the Senior Communications Manager. You are very welcome at IPEM, Paul, and the membership is looking forward to working with you as well as appreciating your communication talents. Reach him on email@example.com
In my previous message, I referred to a difficult period ahead due to the pandemic. In just 4 weeks, the magnitude of this period has been exacerbated by an explosion of Covid-19 infections, hospital admissions and deaths. Nightingale hospitals are coming back to life but they cannot operate without trained staff, who have to come, in the main, from existing healthcare facilities. The latter will again stress the already stretched NHS. Any reduction in the routine NHS case load will increase the already enormous backlog for diagnostic imaging, surgery and out-patient appointments, invariably leading to late diagnosis and poor prognosis.
IPEM members performed magnificently during the first wave gaining plaudits from all quarters, including other healthcare professionals as well as patients and the general public. Unfortunately, memories have been short. The Queen’s Birthday Honours’ List, 4 months late this year to allow for nominations from the Covid-19 crisis, failed to recognise any of our number. Disappointing indeed. I was heartened, however, to hear the Prime Minister say on the news earlier this week that the Birthday Honours’ list included the first block of healthcare workers to be recognised. To those who have worked so hard in difficult circumstance, keep an eye on the post in December.
In October, IPEM carried out its governance with a virtual Trustees meeting. New Trustees joining were President-Elect Dr Robert Farley, Director of SRIC Dr Andrew Reilly and Member Trustee Ms Claire Hardiman. The focus of this meeting was IPEM strategy and the 2020-21 budget.
Philip Morgan, CEO, has been in post for 10 months and he was not employed to sit on his hands and accept the status quo. He has been hyperactive learning about IPEM, who we are, who we represent, where do we want to go as well as showing his metal with our stakeholders. All of this has been on top of closing the office in March, with little or no disruption to service, and ensuring that staff were looked after. Two member surveys, a SWOT analysis, member, Trustee and stakeholder discussions together with a horizon scanning exercise gave him and the senior management team the information to develop a strategy for the years to come. With the strategy, there has obviously to be a budget. Both the strategy and the budget were unanimously accepted by the Trustees. I trust that over the remainder of my term as President, you will start to see a change in IPEM, the modus operandi and the membership.
I chaired the first President’s Advisory Committee of the new term. New members were welcomed, President-Elect Dr Robert Farley, VP Physics Mr Matt Dunn, VP Engineering Dr Warren Macdonald and VP Industry Ms Grace Keane. There were lively discussions on the aims of each of the committee members for 2020-21. These included the terms of reference and responsibilities for SRIC and the position of the Special Interest Groups within IPEM and their responsibilities. These discussions have to be honed for SRIC and SIGs, so that they fall directly into the new strategy. Following this meeting, there has been a flurry of activity which bodes extremely well for high level action from this committee.
I chaired the Clinical Imaging Board, CIB, of RCR, SCoR and IPEM on the same afternoon as Professor Sir Mike Richards presented his paper on ‘Diagnostics: recovery and renewal’, https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/nhs-england-and-nhs-improvement-board-meetings-in-common-agenda-and-papers-1-october-2020/. Associate Professor Anna Barnes, Member Trustee par excellence, performed some interesting analyses. There was no mention of ‘Physics’ or ‘Physicist’. There were 10 mentions of ‘Healthcare sciences’ or ‘Scientist’. However, ‘Radiologists’ and ‘Radiographers” were mentioned on 29 and 39 occasions respectively. CIB is currently considering an invitation to Professor Richards for a subsequent meeting to discuss how he fulfilled the four steps of a gap analysis, namely the construction of organisational goals, benchmarking the current state, analysing the gap data and compiling a gap report, with special emphasis on the first three.
So to close, as the nights close in on us, the coming months are going to tough, especially if you are living in areas with severe restrictions. Please keep a regular check on yourself, and if you have concerns regarding your own welfare speak with someone, a trusted colleague or https://people.nhs.uk/, a trouble shared is a trouble halved. Finally, look out for your colleagues, one of them may need you.
Let’s be careful out there.
I have survived the first year of my 2 year presidency. Why Mr. Putin wishes to go on for life, I do not know. An eventful year and a further eventful 6 months ahead of us all.
We held our AGM as a virtual meeting this year, as allowed by the Charity Commissioners. 57 members attended. This heralded the start of MPEC, our annual scientific congress. We had a magnificent opening talk from Professor Jim Al-Khalili on scientific communication attended by 76 members. Attendance for the following days was as high as 125. We are very grateful for the organisation of MPEC 2020, our first virtual meeting, to Candi Colbourn, Events Manager at our national office, and the organising committee.
I had the privilege to present the Institute’s prizes last week during MPEC.
The 2020 academic gold medal:
Professor Nick Stone
Professor of Biomedical Imaging and Biosensing
College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences
University of Exeter
The 2020 Academic Early Career Award:
Research Fellow in Radiotherapy
University College London Hospital
The Spiers’ Prize for outreach in medical physics and / or clinical / biomedical engineering:
Mark Grattan, Consultant Clinical Scientist and Head of Dosimetry in the Radiotherapy Physics Service, Northern Ireland Cancer Centre, Belfast
The Jack Perkins Prize for best paper in Medical Engineering and Physics in 2019:
Adrian Falkenberg, Paul Drummen, Michael M. Morlock, Gerd Huber
Institute of Biomechanics, Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH),
for their paper: Determination of local micromotion at the stem-neck taper junction of a bi-modular total hip prosthesis design
The Martin Black Prize for the best paper in Physiological Measurement in 2019:
Karin Schiecke1, Andy Schumann2, Franz Benninger3, Martha Feucht4, Karl-Juergen Baer2 and Peter Schlattmann1
1 Institute of Medical Statistics, Computer and Data Sciences and the Lab for Autonomic Neuroscience, Imaging and Cognition (LANIC), Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany
3 Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, Department of Paediatrics Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria
for their paper on : Brain-heart interactions considering complex physiological data: processing schemes for time-variant, frequency-dependent, topographical and statistical examination of directed interactions by convergent cross mapping
The summer is coming to a close after some good weather but followed recently by two back to back storms producing destructive high winds. I hope that I am the only IPEM President who will have to deal with a pandemic. It has certainly reduced the opportunities to progress the links with stakeholders and others in the first year of my time in office. IPEM is buzzing at present with the development of the strategy for the next 5 years and well beyond that too, with Philip Morgan’s Horizon Scanning project, which you can read more about and get involved in here.
MPEC and the AGM are both virtual meeting this year. MPEC will run from 21 September to 2 October, with the AGM being held on 21 September at 17.15. Please register for MPEC on the IPEM website here. Importantly, please also register your vote online and have a say in your professional organisation.
If you are a budding writer, remember the new IPEM / WCSIM essay prize announced in my last blog. The essay should be a maximum 1000 words and should be understood by members of the general public. The title of the essay is Innovation and Communication: Scientific Instrumentation Improving Patient Outcomes. The closing date is 15 September 2020. A prize of £500 and an IPEM Gold Medal will be presented to the winner. This prize is open to members of both organisations who are in the early stages of their career, typically within 10-15 years of graduation or of commencing their relevant employment.
I wish you all an enjoyable public holiday, the last before Christmas, so make the most of it!
Major news this month is that IPEM has impacted government policy. You may recall that in January that I wrote to the Home Secretary asking for clarification concerning medical physicists and clinical / biomedical engineers and the NHS rapid access visa scheme. Medical physicists were added following discussions between the Home Office with DHSC following our representations. Unfortunately, the Home Office has used Standard Occupational Classification codes from 2010 rather than 2020, the latter having medical physicists with their own SOC code of 2259. Unfortunately, clinical / biomedical engineers have not been included. We shall therefore be making further representation on these two points.
Health Education England, HEE, and the National School for Healthcare Science approached IPEM in December 2019 to set up a programme to improve training in radiotherapy physics, which had been highlighted as a cause for concern by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy. IPEM defined a programme, following consultation with members, which was accepted. A contract was drafted but it all came to nought at the end of March 2020. However, HEE have re-engaged with IPEM and are keen to work on one or two pilot projects but with more modest funding. A proposal(s) will be submitted to HEE in September.
The first IPEM International Scholar is Eduardo Florian from Guatemala. Florian is currently studying for an MSc at the University of Trieste in Italy. Eduardo has written an article which appears in the July newsletter. He has applied to be an Associate Member of IPEM. Please join me in wishing him well as our International Scholar and starting a strong association with IPEM during a successful career in medical physics.
IPEM and the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers, WCSIM, are pleased to announce the launch of a new essay prize. This prize is open to members of both organisations who are in the early stages of their career, typically within 10-15 years of graduation or of commencing their relevant employment. The essay should be a maximum 1000 words and should be understood by members of the general public. The title of essay is Innovation and Communication: Scientific Instrumentation Improving Patient Outcomes. The closing date is 15th September 2020. A prize of £500 and an IPEM Gold Medal will be presented to the winner at one of the WCSIM’s social events, hopefully the October banquet, at the Livery Hall in Southwark. The winning essay will be published in SCOPE and announced in the WCSIM’s regular news bulletin and placed on both institutions’ websites
WCSIM is one of the modern livery companies of the City of London and a charity which promotes the craft of scientific instrument making and the exchange of ideas and information by members and guests through meetings, visits, lectures and social events. WCSIM provides opportunities for members to encourage and support younger members and engage with schools at careers’ fairs and support STEM days. The Livery encourages young people to participate in scientific instrumentation through grants, prizes, scholarships and apprenticeships. The Livery has relationships with a number of universities as well as the armed forces and the Arkwright Scholarship Scheme. A link between IPEM and WCSIM meets the charitable objectives of both organisations and could be mutually beneficial.
MPEC was scheduled to take place at the University of Strathclyde in September 2020 but will now take place online. Strathclyde University will host MPEC 2021. Candi Colbourn, Conference and Services Manager at IPEM, and the organising committee, Rob Chuter, Aidan O'Brien, Stephanie Wentworth, Mohamed Metwaly and Neil Richmond have been working on an exciting programme which will commence on Monday 21st September. The AGM will also take place on 21st September. Many thanks to Candi and her member volunteers.
IPEM has engaged consultants to re-brand IPEM for members, potential members and the public. This is the first of many initiatives from our not so new CEO, Philip Morgan. The branding will lead onto the long awaited new website.
A big call out to staff at the national office for their hard work during the issues of the past few months. It has been business as usual due to your dedication and efforts. Thank you all.
The longest day and midsummer have now passed and the days are getting shorter already, only 127 days until the clocks go back in the autumn. Thank you to all who have completed our survey, which will be analysed and results reported back to all members shortly.
We still have a large number of volunteer vacancies just waiting for you to offer your services. Please consider helping IPEM to support its members.
Professor Pat Price, chair of Action Radiotherapy, has been working with BBC Panorama on a programme entitled ‘Britain’s cancer crisis’. Deborah James, presenter and famous for her podcasts, received x2 lots of radiotherapy during the Covid-19 crisis for her stage 4 colon cancer and will feature in the programme. Tim Farron, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Committee, AAPG, on Radiotherapy, will be interviewed. The programme will be broadcast on 6th July. It is currently planned by AAPG to launch a 6 point radiotherapy recovery plan to reinforce why radiotherapy requires a post-Covid-19 boost. Please help to maximise publicity surrounding the Panorama programme and the parallel initiative.
The AAPG for Radiotherapy have reacted with concern following answers given by NHS England’s National Cancer Director, Dame Cally Palmer, at the Health and Social Care Committee, which appear out of step with the evidence of a mini-inquiry run by the APPG. Professor Price said “We have great respect for Dame Cally, but cannot agree that radiotherapy is operating at near to normal levels. The NHS appears unaware of much of our evidence and so it is essential that we come together to find a solution that will safeguard services during Covid-19 and prevent collateral cancer deaths”.
The Royal College of Radiologists, with input from IPEM and the Society and College of Radiographers, have issued guidance on recovery, restoration and reconfiguration of oncology departments. It is available from this link: https://www.rcr.ac.uk/sites/default/files/guidance-recovery-restoration-reconfiguration-oncology-departments.pdf
IPEM is working with RPA 2000 to launch the Medical Physics Expert transition scheme. IPEM have been ready since late May to proceed. However, RPA 2000 have yet to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Health and Social Care before a launch can proceed. Watch this space.
I am hearing of more and more achievements during the Covid-19 crisis where IPEM members have gone, not the extra mile, but the extra 10 miles to fulfil the needs and potential needs of patients in existing hospitals, but also the Nightingale and Jordan hospitals. The crisis has opened the eyes of other healthcare professionals to the work that we do within the healthcare sector. IPEM must build on this exposé of our profession so that we advance our charitable status and educate the public, including professional colleagues, of our work. Please send to me any noteworthy achievements so that members can have a ‘call out’ and be recognised.
And finally, a challenge to our engineering fraternity. NASA has launched the Lunar Loo Challenge in a bid to attract "new and innovative solutions" to the problem of waste capture and containment in microgravity, ahead of plans for astronauts to return to the surface of the Moon by 2024.
The past weeks have seen some easing of restrictions in England with the devolved administrations promising similar. These changes have come about through great sacrifices from the majority, who obeyed the Covid-19 rules, as well as the NHS staff in all disciplines who either continued in their usual role or retrained for deployment in overstretched areas. There has been an order of magnitude change in the recognition of our members by medical staff, nurses, administrators etc due to the enormous teamwork that has taken place with us over the past months. STP trainees had a special mention at the Academy of Health Care Science Council as many were reported to have ‘got stuck in’ and worked long hours in unfamiliar areas.
The Health and Social Care Select Committee was told by Dame Cally Palmer on 1st May that “We have the available workforce and now have the available kit”. This is completely contrary to our evidence of continuing shortages both of workforce and equipment. IPEM, together with Royal College of Radiologists, the Society and College of Radiographers, made representation to this committee, which you can read here.
IPEM needs to influence the public debate and be in a position to do this from a position of sound knowledge. We certainly have this type of information from our Workforce Intelligence Unit. However, as we enter the Covid-19 recovery phase, we are seeking your help to give us specific information on areas of your work. A short survey has been designed to gain information on upcoming engineering, medical imaging, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy issues. We are asking you to complete the parts of the survey that apply to you and you can access it here. The very last page allows you to provide information on any topics that we may have missed. Please can you find 10 minutes to complete this survey which will allow us to speak up with solid facts to represent the professions which we proudly represent and allow the NHS to change for the better.
Thank you in advance.
Another month has passed and the coronavirus is still untamed and on the loose. It has been incongruous to look out into these beautiful spring mornings, see such little activity, and not be able to enjoy it to the full.
We are all hoping for an increase in Covid-19 testing for front line NHS and care home staff and a sufficiency of personal protective equipment.
In January and February, IPEM, as the professional body, was developing a programme to improve training in radiotherapy physics, following an approach by Health Education England and the National School for Healthcare Science with linked funding. Our proposals were well received and draft contracts were passing between the parties. As the end March approached, and Covid-19 took over our lives, we were told that the funding was no longer available. There are no commitments for this funding to be available in the next financial year. However, some of our proposals are exciting and could possibly be funded by IPEM itself. These will be considered when the ‘new normal’ dawns.
The IPEM Finance and Business Planning meeting and the Trustees’ meetings have taken place by video conference in March and April. I was certainly hesitant to run the latter virtually, but, thanks to the orderly interventions of Trustees, we completed a full agenda, albeit in over 4 hours. A decision was made by the Trustees that all our events until year end will be virtual. A virtual MPEC 2020 is under consideration probably in Q4. The booking for MPEC 2020, scheduled to take place at University of Strathclyde at the end of September, has now been transferred to MPEC 2021. Trustees were advised that IPEM members were eligible in cases of need for funds disbursed by the Institute of Physics benevolent fund. The unconfirmed minutes of the Trustees’ April meeting are on the website.
IPEM welcomes a new independent Trustee, Chelsea Roche, a London based lawyer, working for LifeArc as senior counsel. Chelsea has a special interest in IPEM, as she holds a degree in Medical Radiations and worked as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist in both the public and private sectors in Australia and UK before heading on her legal path.
IPEM’s Communities of Interest, CoIs, have sprung into life during the Covid-19 events. We opened our CoIs to non-members to aid the dissemination of information and promote dialogue. The Clinical Engineering and the Covid-19 cross speciality CoIs have both been busy.
IPEM has a number of prizes and awards which are awarded annually. These are available to view on our website, www.ipem.ac.uk . Please take a look and see whether you can make a nomination so that a friend or colleague may be recognised. The closing date is 1st June 2020.
There are a couple of changes in the IPEM organisation. Training is now grouped with the Workforce Intelligence Unit. Both are managed by Dr. Jemimah Eve, who joins our senior management team and now attends Trustees and the President’s Advisory Committee. Congratulations to Jemimah on her deserved promotion. We say good-bye to Jo Pearson, Membership and Training Manager, and thank her for her sterling work at IPEM over the past four years and wish her well in her new ventures. Jo is described by Kathryn Surtees, Head of Operations and Finance, as ‘the best Membership Manager in all her time at IPEM’. The search for a replacement will commence shortly.
I mentioned mental health in last month’s blog and how this can affect us all in different ways. Be alert to the behaviour of your colleagues. There may be signs that they are feeling the stress and not coping too well, at work, at home or even both. Be open and offer to listen. We all have to be extra kind to each other during this crisis. A trouble shared is a trouble halved. Together, we can all come through this, hopefully unscathed. There is still a way to go but definitely room for optimism. The coming months will bring different pressures as a resumption of usual hospital activity will slide back into place and the backlog from the Covid-19 crisis is fully appreciated.
Keep safe, keep sane and let’s be careful out there.
In December, I wrote to you in the depth of winter, thinking ahead to the daffodils blooming in spring and the clocks advancing to British summer time. The latter occurs this coming weekend, as predicted. Who would have envisaged in December, the change in the circumstances of the entire world in just three months? We are living and working in an unprecedented crisis with all the associated stress, strain and worry.
IPEM is here to support you, the members, and will not place any avoidable burdens on any member who may be in the fight against COVID-19. We would like to reassure you that IPEM’s annual audit this year will be deferred until 2021 for anyone not able to submit by the audit deadline of 1 April. If you have submitted your CPD already, or you have completed it and are able to submit it by the audit deadline, it will still be audited. Anyone who cannot submit will automatically be deferred and pre-selected for the 2021 audit. No professional registrations will be removed in 2020 due to non-submissions or deferrals.
The IPEM national office in York is closed. All staff commenced home working last week and are up and running, with a short commute to their home office via the kitchen for coffee. Desktops were deployed to homes with great care and where essential, new laptops were purchased. Staff are set up with Microsoft Teams. Everyone is indebted to Philip and Kathryn for their forward planning to make this happen with a degree of measured calm so that our business was not interrupted. Staff are supporting each other, and Trustees and others are keeping in regular contact with them.
The Finance and Business Planning meeting of IPEM took place by video conference, as did the board meeting of IPEM Enterprises Limited. All subsequent meetings of these groups will be virtual for the remainder for the year. The next Trustees meeting will still take place in late April by video conference. Governance is therefore covered.
The Covid-19 lead within IPEM is Jemimah Eve, firstname.lastname@example.org. Jemimah is working with many leaders within the NHS, supplying workforce information and just today arranging the appeal for biomedical and clinical engineers to help in London to create the Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre in Dockland. The Communities of Interest are now open to non-members and seeing more traffic. The idea behind this is to be able to circulate best practice and ideas for the benefit of others. A number of members are collaborating with industry and MHRA in relation to the requirement for a large number of ventilators.
The Medicines and Medical Devices Bill is passing through Parliament but will inevitably be delayed by the current situation. Representation has been made by IPEM’s Clinical Engineering Committee to the Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons for this piece of legislation. Sean Edmunds, our External Relations Manager, prepared the final documents in the format required for submission and consideration by the committee.
So back to the Covid-19 crisis. IPEM and its members are performing their roles stoically at this time. I would ask you all to take time to look after yourselves. You cannot work if you are sick, so please do take all precautions that have been advised. Please keep an eye out for colleagues who, for whatever reason, may be struggling and offer them support. We all need each other at this time.
The Mental Health Foundation have a good website dealing with mental health and Covid-19, the link is attached below:
The words from ‘Hill Street Blues’ echo at this time, “Let’s be careful out there”.
It is pleasing to see you, the membership, so active in 2020.
The ‘IPEM Working Party report on extended hours in Radiotherapy’ is in the very final stage of completion and will be released shortly. The document is comprehensive, well-constructed and does not hold back from being controversial in parts. This has been a three year endeavour from the team members.
The members of the task and finish group to develop the ‘MR Expert’ programme have been working since 2013 and have now received approval from our Professional Standards Committee. A 2 day training course, to assist in preparation for the knowledge element of the programme, will take place on 24th and 25th March and there are currently 60 registrants.
IPEM’s clinical engineering group, CEG, are working on developing the concept of a ‘Clinical engineering expert’ in regulatory compliance under the NSHCS accredited scientific practice programme. The aim is to commence in September 2021. In their recent meeting, CEG are pushing for IPEM to lobby in relation to the medical device legislation passing through Parliament at present. It is so uplifting to see important legislation, that has been stalled for years due to the ‘B’ word, starting to clear the parliamentary hurdles again.
Health Education England, HEE, wish to partner with IPEM to improve training in the radiotherapy physics workforce. The proposal from HEE was late in their financial year and they have imposed very tight deadlines on IPEM to decide whether or not to accept the money on offer and how we envisage the programme to improve training. A survey was distributed to heads of radiotherapy physics departments in England and 17 responses were received, disappointingly low to say the least. A meeting was then held with some of those who responded and others to identify areas where this money could be put to good use. There was agreement that ‘Improving the consistency and quality of training across the radiotherapy physics workforce’ should be the theme. Five elements emerged: assessed workshops, train the trainer programmes, clinical educator training programmes, develop radiotherapy networks and develop a support system for HSST trainees. More details on these topics will be reported elsewhere as more flesh is put on the bone.
The work that I have described above shows the great commitment of IPEM members to develop our organisation and further enhance the standing of members as well as the Institute itself. Thank you all for this important work.
Philip Morgan, CEO, Mark Tooley, Immediate Past President, and I met with Dame Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England, earlier in the month to discuss IPEM’s activities, our relationships with branches of NHS England and various collaborations over the coming year.
The bi-annual members’ survey has been sent out as part of the February newsletter and you can also access it here. I would urge you to spend 10-15 minutes to complete it and help IPEM, your professional body and learned society, to shape itself for the next couple of years. If you have some suggestions for IPEM, here is a great opportunity to share them.
MPEC will be held this year in the new science and innovation centre at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow between 28th and 30th September 2020. The programme is being developed and promises to be an excellent event. Members’ day, free to attend for members, is on 28th September.
I have been invited to an outreach event for a number of schools in mid-Kent titled ‘The exciting world of biomedical engineering and medical physics’ on 29th April at 1400. Would a medical physicist like to join me to speak at this event?
February is almost over so I wish you an enjoyable and worthwhile March in your work as well as your personal lives. Keep a good work life balance.
Since I wrote to you in the December newsletter, we are now enjoying an additional 73 minutes of daylight. Christmas and New Year have passed and life has returned to normality. IPEM has returned to normality as well, with the arrival of our new Chief Executive, Philip Morgan. Philip has shown his commitment to IPEM by moving to the York area in December with his wife, Shona, and three daughters. The first month of a new job is always a challenge and the CEO role is no different. As well as settling in and getting to know his staff, Philip has also had a Trustees’ meeting and President’s Advisory Committee to handle. Thanks to past presidents Steve Keevil and David Brettle for welcoming Philip to their departments to introduce Philip to our members’ activities.
I initiated a letter to the Home Secretary to seek confirmation that Medical Physicists, Biomedical and Clinical Engineers are included in the Conservative manifesto pledge to have a rapid access scheme for ‘Doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals’ coming to the UK to work within the NHS. The Presidents of the Royal College of Physicians London, Royal College of Radiologists, Society and College of Radiographers, British Institute of Radiology and the Academy for Healthcare Science all co-signed our letter. It is gratifying for IPEM that our relationships with these prestigious organisations are so strong, allowing us to speak with one voice. One President described Medical Physicists, Biomedical and Clinical Engineers as the hidden workforce. In my 2 year presidency, I am driving to make our workforce more visible and better understood by the medical community, the public and patients.
The National Engineering Policy Centre is a partnership of 39 of the UK’s professional engineering bodies representing 450,000 engineers, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The manifesto for the engineering sector, Engineering priorities for our future economy and society was published in August and made recommendations for a new government on skills, innovation, digital, infrastructure as well as energy and climate change, much of which was within the Conservative Party manifesto. I co-signed, together with leaders of other engineering bodies, an open letter to the Prime Minister, originating from new President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Sir Jim McDonald, offering to work with the new government in these areas.
IPEM has a thriving, well respected ‘Workforce Intelligence’ team. The team came to the fore in the consultation with the Office for National Statistics, ONS. It may surprise you that ONS did not have a code for Medical Physics. This has now been rectified so that it will be much easier to bring trained, English speaking Medical Physicists to the UK to fill the occupation shortage and avoid issues with the Migration Advisory Service. Work continues to clarify Biomedical and Clinical Engineers with ONS. Well done Jemimah and Adam.
Kathryn Surtees, who has had great success over the years negotiating with our publishers, Elsevier and Institute of Physics Publishing, is currently working her magic again to agree a new open access journal under favourable terms with Elsevier. This is likely to commence in 2021. The name of the journal has a slight Yorkshire flavour, eIPEM. I must thank Kathryn for stepping in as Interim CEO from September to year end and doing a sterling job. Kathryn is now supporting Philip Morgan as Head of Operations and Finance.
In November, IPEM and King’s College, London held a joint open lecture on ‘Artificial Intelligence and Medical Physics’. There were 215 attendees, with the lecture having to be streamed to an adjacent lecture room to comfortably accommodate everyone.
The average scores from the feedback forms for this event were 4.9, 4.8, 4.6 and 4.8 for the topic, speakers, location and organisation respectively. The reported positives were the excellent preparation, inspiring and engaging speakers, interesting, relevant and well explained topics. Suggestions for improvements were: better directions to venue, more time for questions and audience involvement in panel discussion. There were a number of suggestions for the next IPEM and KCL joint public lecture which are being worked on now. If you have any suggestions for the next meeting, please do not hesitate to let me know. I must thank Sebastien Ourselin and Steve Keevil for their large contribution to get the show on the road, as well as Ioana Dobre, Stamatina Hasiotis and Candi Colbourn from the conference groups of both organisations.
Finally, I would like to bring some news of, and congratulations to, three members from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals.
Dr. Didi Akinluyi, Chief Biomedical Engineer, is the first person in the country to complete the HSST programme in Clinical Biomedical Engineering. He sailed through his viva for Doctor of Clinical Science, DClinSci, which he adds to his Cambridge PhD.
Haris Shuaib, MRI physicist, directorate digital lead and an existing Topol Fellow, has secured an NIHR Doctoral Training Fellowship to fund the remainder of his PhD applying AI to brain imaging to distinguish recurrent cancer from treatment effects.
Simone Ambrogio, research physicist in the Non-Ionising Radiation team has recently passed his PhD viva.
Please share your successes with colleagues at IPEM by sending information to Sean Edmunds, IPEM’s external relations manager, email@example.com
The winter solstice, midwinter, extreme of winter, dongzhil or the shortest day, occur this weekend when a pole has its maximum tilt away from the sun and we experience the shortest period of day light. Fear not, 28th March 2020 beckons when the clocks will spring forward and vitamin D will again be available in plentiful supply.
I must express my thanks to Isabel Palmer and Eleanor Holden, both medical physicists from Guy’s and St Thomas’, for volunteering to work with me at a careers’ fair at the City of London School in late November.
I visited Charlotte in North Carolina at the start of December to start a couple of new projects, a short break from IPEM affairs. This is a busy week in the run-up to Christmas. I am attending the annual general meeting and an extraordinary general meeting of the Radiology and Oncology Congresses, meeting with the President of the Royal College of Physicians and attending a meeting of IPEM Enterprises Limited, the commercial arm of IPEM, as well as our own finance and business planning meeting.
Please remember to pay your IPEM membership fees together with any other professional subscriptions and complete your CPD. If you are intending to apply for a travel grant from IPEM, please apply early. Ingratiate yourself with the awards panel and speed up a decision on your application by applying for the correct grant, completing the application form in full and supplying all of the requested information.
All that remains is for me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The clocks have gone back and it is dark by 1700 in the south and for most of the day north of the border.
IPEM’s letter to Health Education England, along with others, thankfully persuaded them to reverse their decision to only partially fund the salaries of STP trainees. The latest dealings with external bodies have been with the Office of National Statistics in relation to their consultation on occupation codes and shortage occupations. Currently, ‘medical physicist’ does not have its own code but is classified under ‘Medical Radiographer’, which just happens to be a protected title. Great effort from our workforce intelligence unit to clarify the issues produced a positive response. We now need to follow up to ensure our inclusion in a rapid access visa scheme for NHS workers when, or indeed if, this comes to pass.
IPEM has been successful in filling the independent trustee vacancy on IPEM Enterprises Limited, our trading arm. We welcome Ms. Alice Alesi who takes up her role in December. We have had 9 applications for the independent trustee vacancy at IPEM itself following an advertisement in ‘The Guardian’. A short list of 3 has been made and interviews will be held in January.
Philip Morgan’s arrival as IPEM CEO is getting closer. Philip, his wife Shona and their 3 children are moving to York on 13th December to get settled for Christmas in preparation for the commencement of his role on 2nd January. We wish them all a complication free transition to York.
IPEM’s international strategy is directed towards low and middle income countries. Dan Clark, VP International, launched an initiative at MPEC. A request was made by Professor Slavik Tabakov for IPEM to support the Medical Physics MSc course fees for an international student attending the prestigious University of Trieste course. The IPEM International Scholar, as they will be known, has been chosen from one of the poorest countries based on OECD criteria, Senegal. You will be hearing from this student during the course of their studies in SCOPE and our newsletter.
A public lecture on ‘Artificial intelligence and medical physics’ was held at King’s College, London, KCL, the first under a memorandum of understanding between IPEM and KCL. 215 of 250 registrants attended the event. Feedback indicated that the topic was highly relevant, the speakers gave extremely interesting and well prepared talks and the location, facilities and organisation were very good. A networking reception followed at the end of which there were still over 50 attendees present. Topics for the next public lecture are currently under consideration taking account of suggestions from attendees. A video of the session is available on the IPEM YouTube™ channel here. A special mention must be made to Richard Major, who travelled down from Shropshire to attend the lecture. You are a real warrior, Richard.
In the past month, meetings have been secured with Chief Scientific Officer of England, President of the Royal College of Physicians and National Physical Laboratory.
Our Professional Standards Committee, PSC, met on 28th November and approved in principle the MR Safety Expert, MRSE, proposal from the long-standing task and finish group. The proposal has two parts, an assessment of knowledge and an assessment of experience. PSC approved assessment of the former by the examination of American Board for MR Safety, ABMRS. The task and finish group has been invited to submit detailed proposals for the assessment of experience to the next PSC meeting in February with full costings. An MR safety Expert workshop is scheduled for March 2020 followed by the next ABMRS exam in London in June.
Despite how it feels, it is not just hard work as President of IPEM. Kathryn Surtees and I attended the Annual Prizes and Awards dinner as guests of the Institute of Physics, IOP. A most enjoyable dinner with many IOP members acknowledged for their contributions.
At the end of September, I wrote my first presidential letter to Health Education England, HEE, expressing our concern at the shortfall of salary for those on the Scientist Training Programme, STP. I am delighted to report that I have received a reply from Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of HEE. He has confirmed that for the 2020/2021 financial year all STP trainees will be funded at contemporary Agenda for Change rates. This includes all trainees commencing the programme in September 2020 and for all existing trainees, in years 1,2 and 3, effective from 1 April 2020. HEE have also confirmed that they will be undertaking a full review of education funding for healthcare science programmes to inform future funding offers. IPEM will engage fully with the process once initiated. This is encouraging news for the short term, and it is great to see a positive result from our representations to HEE.
Another hot topic is the ‘occupation classification codes’ and the National Shortage Occupation List (NSOL), in light of a consultation announced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The classification code used for medical physics roles by ONS is ‘2217 Medical Radiographers’. The most recent review by ONS, lists all medical physics jobs under the occupation code ‘2217’, and removed the words ‘radiotherapy physics scientists, practitioners and nuclear medicine practitioners’. This has led to a perception that medical physicists are no longer on the NSOL. The closing date for the consultation is 10th November and Jemimah Eve, IPEM’s workforce intelligence manager, is currently preparing our response. I shall then be lobbying ONS in relation to clear and concise classification codes for our roles. We have a meeting with the Royal College of Radiologists as they are keen to support us on this topic.
I chaired my first Trustees meeting followed by the President’s Advisory Committee in early October. We were joined by Philip Morgan, our new CEO, as an observer. Philip built in a visit to the office to meet our interim CEO, Kathryn Surtees, and staff as well as some house hunting.
The recent MHRA consultation with patients, public and healthcare professionals closed in early October. Preliminary information is expected to be shared at the next Devices Expert Advisory Committee (DEAC) meeting in mid-November.
The first of the London Lecture series, in collaboration with King’s College, London, is taking place 1830 – 2130 on Tuesday 12th November. The final programme is as follows:
AI impact at societal level: Dr. Fausto Milletari, NVIDIA
AI in healthcare: Dr. Jorge Cardoso, AI Centre, King’s College, London
A specific application to healthcare – AI & patient flow: Dr. James Teo, King’s College Hospital, London
Networking and reception
Registration for this meeting has now closed with 250 registrants. A video recording of the event will be available to members after the event. If anyone would like to suggest a burning topic for the second lecture, please write to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Innovation grant applications came in thick and fast towards the closing date. They are currently being reviewed by the Prizes and Awards Committee, chaired by Immediate Past President Mark Tooley.
Please remember that you can apply for IPEM travel grants once you have been a member for 1 year. Applications can be made at any time through the year until the allocated money is spent. Please follow the instructions with care and supply all the information requested so that your application can be dealt with speedily.
On a social front, there have been a couple of events. I attended a very enjoyable networking event organised by the British Institute of Radiology on a Thames cruiser. I listened to Professor Sir John Burn deliver a fascinating Harveian Oration on ‘Prediction and prevention in the genomics era’ at the College of Physicians followed by a magnificent dinner.
The clocks have changed and winter is upon us. The next public holiday is Christmas Day. I am in Scotland as I write my missive and the temperature is sub-zero Celsius. Wrap up warm, enjoy your work, look after your patients but above all stay safe.
There have been changes at IPEM over the summer. Rosemary Cook retired from the Institute at the end of 7 years at the helm. We are very grateful for her tireless work, especially within the area of governance.
Once Rosemary indicated that she was planning to retire at the end of August, the Trustees formed a Recruitment Panel of two independent Trustees, Alison Robinson-Canham and John Turner, and the President and President Elect, who worked together over the summer. The first job was to identify a recruitment consultancy. Tenders were requested and six received. Four were interviewed and a unanimous decision was made to appoint London-based Anderson Quigley (AQ). Three hundred and seventy people were approached regarding their own interest or whether they knew someone who could be interested. 26 applications were received and whittled down by the panel and AQ to a long list of 11, who were all interviewed by AQ. They reported back and a short list meeting, lasting three hours, produced four for interview. All candidates had to make a presentation to IPEM staff, IPEM members and members of the Public Engagement Committee at Fairmount House followed by an interview with the panel. Philip Morgan, Deputy CEO of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, was the panel’s unanimous choice. Philip will relocate to York and commence work on 2 January 2020. Philip’s biography will be available in a subsequent newsletter.
President Professor Mark Tooley passed the IPEM chain of office to me at the Medical Physics and Engineering Conference (MPEC), in Bristol last week. Mark has batted hard for IPEM within government, NHS England and Health Education England as well as at the Royal Academy of Engineering. Mark is owed a large debt of gratitude for all his work over the past two years when he took over without the runway of a year as President Elect.
MPEC took place from 23 – 25 September with the first day being a free Members’ Day. There were around 80 at the meeting each day. We heard from Professor Dame Sue Hill, the Chief Scientific Officer, and her Deputy, Angela Douglas, Rob Orford, Chief Scientific Officer to the Welsh Government and Karen Stewart, Healthcare Science Officer to the Scottish Government, as well as Professor Berne Ferry, Head of the National School of Healthcare Science. There was an enjoyable social/networking event on one evening, commencing with a boat tour around Bristol docks. On a slightly negative point, some members registered for Members’ Day but then failed to attend. There is a cost to IPEM associated with no-shows. IPEM are grateful to Professor Tony Dix and his team for their hard work as his conference organising committee. IPEM staff, Kathryn, Candi, Jess and Sean all came to support the event and we are grateful for their great efforts.
Congratulations to Professor Dan Clarke on the launch of the Low and Middle Income Sponsorship Award, which supports IPEM’s international strategy. In addition to this, Finance and Business Planning have approved a donation to pay the registration fees for a student to attend an MSc course over two years at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, in Trieste, Italy. Professor Slavik Tabakov wrote a very interesting article explaining the work of this organization supported by the Italian Government, UNESCO and IAEA in the December 2018 issue of Scope. IPEM can select the country from which the student comes from and the student too. The student will be known as the IPEM International Scholar. The scholar will be an Associate Member of IPEM, able to join the mentoring scheme and will be asked to write an article for SCOPE at both the start and end of the course.
IPEM has an impressive international presence, best represented by our three international journals, Physics in Medicine and Biology, Physiological Measurement and Medical Engineering and Physics. It is a very special year for the latter, edited by Dr Richard Black, of Strathclyde University, celebrating the 40th anniversary issue in October 2019. Many thanks to all the editors for their time and commitment to these IPEM-owned journals.
I represented the Institute at two congresses in September. The first was BioEngineering 2019 held at Imperial College. This two-day event attracted 450 national and international biomedical engineers, mainly from academia. Disappointingly, IPEM did not have a desk at this congress to promote itself. These attendees are all potential members of IPEM. I shall be following up by meeting with Professor Anthony Bull, the meeting organiser.
The second meeting was the International Conference on Medical Physics, organised by the International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP), in Santiago, Chile. The congress was attended by around 400 delegates from a variety of National Member Organisations and some from low and middle income countries. There were a couple of positive takeaway messages from this meeting. IPEM is extremely well respected in this organisation and internationally. I had the privilege of collecting a certificate from the President of IOMP on behalf of our Institute for the continued collaboration and support from IPEM to IOMP. The other positive was the interest and enthusiasm to get involved with IPEM’s Little Linac. ‘Brettle Mania’ pervaded the congress and international are sales coming from South Africa, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Brazil. A distributor from South Africa purchased 130 Little Linacs so that he could put one free in each delegates’ bag at their annual medical physics congress in mid-October.
We have many volunteers who perform sterling work for IPEM. However, at the present time there are a number of vacancies which we really must fill. These include an IPEM-appointed nominee to the Engineering Council who sits on the Engineering Registration Panel, members for the Engineering Policy and Standards Panel, and a member for the Professional and Standards Council. Details about these roles are on the website. Please contact Marie Goodall for any additional information at the National Office.
I have written a letter to Health Education England, copied to the Chief Scientific Officer and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy, expressing our concern about the funding for those on the Scientist Training Programme.
I have postponed the members’ survey, which I am sure you are all eagerly awaiting, until 2020. Philip Morgan, our new CEO, has just completed a survey of the members of his current organisation and I believe that we shall benefit from his review when he joins IPEM.
I shall be following up on the work of immediate Past President Mark Tooley with the Royal College of Physicians (RCP). There has been a route for IPEM members to become affiliates of RCP for a number of years, there is also a route to Fellow of RCP for non-medically qualified healthcare professionals. Mark and I will be meeting with Professor Andrew Goddard, President of the RCP, to further discuss this route for IPEM members and drafting a paper to take to Trustees on how this can be implemented on IPEM’s part.
I ceased to be Chair of the Fellowship Panel when I assumed the presidency. A new Chair will be announced shortly. Past Presidents Mark Tooley and Steve Keevil will be working with me on a review of IPEM Fellowship with the aim to report to Trustees in January.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency have a consultation open at present for patients, public and healthcare professionals. It is your opportunity to give them feedback. A direct link to the consultation document is on our website. I encourage you to respond.
Please support the public lecture on ‘Artificial Intelligence and Medical Physics’, a joint venture between IPEM and King’s College London, to be held on Tuesday 12 November. The speakers are Fausto Milletari, senior applied research scientist at NVIDIA, Dr Jorge Cardoso, senior lecturer at the King’s AI Centre and Dr James Teo, Clinical Director of data science at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. There will be a panel discussion following the talks with an opportunity for networking following the event. You should have received an email about this lecture with a direct link to register. The number of registrations is already approaching the number of seats, so book now.
I would like to close my very first IPEM presidential blog with an appeal to each and every member. Please promote IPEM to your colleagues who are not IPEM members and commit to convincing at least one to join IPEM. Just in case you do not know, or have forgotten, IPEM’s offering to members includes a no fee application process for Engineering Council and Science Council registrations, a CPD scheme, a mentoring scheme, a newly established public lecture series with King's College London, networking, special interest groups, communities of interest, travel grants, awards and prizes. I would like to see a large increase in membership through your efforts over the next eight weeks of selling IPEM to your colleagues.
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