New act would regulate the qualification of physicians with expertise in radiation
The Government proposes a new act to regulate whether physicians are qualified to work as occupational physicians with expertise in radiation. In addition to familiarity with occupational health care, physicians should also complete training in radiation protection, which would ensure a sufficient level of expertise in the health effects of radiation and the risks of radiation in different work tasks that expose employees to radiation.
In future, only a physician that has been recognised through the new procedure could work as an occupational physician monitoring the health of workers in category A either in the private or public sector. Workers in category A are employees that may in their work be exposed to radiation to such an extent that personal monitoring of radiation doses must be arranged for them.
The right to work as an occupational physician with expertise in radiation would in future be granted by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira). Until now, the qualification of a physician responsible for medical surveillance has been recognised by the Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) on application. Valvira would make available a list of occupational physicians with expertise in radiation who are recorded in the Central Register of Healthcare Professionals (Terhikki). The Act on Health Care Professionals would therefore be amended at the same time.
The majority of occupational physicians do not work with employees that are exposed to radiation in their work. All occupational physicians are therefore not required to complete the radiation protection training referred to in the new act. Currently, about 460 physicians with a qualification recognised by the Nuclear Safety Authority are in the Authority’s register. The details of these physicians would be submitted to Valvira for verification. It is estimated that every year 30–40 physicians would apply to Valvira for the recognition of this qualification.
The radiation protection training referred to in the new act could in future be provided by universities and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, and a statement on the radiation protection training would have to be requested from the Nuclear Safety Authority. The statement procedure is aimed at ensuring that the training meets the requirements set for it. The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health is currently the only institution providing this kind of radiation protection training.
The new act would in this regard implement the EU’s new directive on radiation safety. At the same time, the provisions and regulatory guidelines on the recognition of physicians would be transferred to the act, as required by the Constitution. It is intended that the acts enter into force on 1 December 2016.
Helena Korpinen, Senior Officer, tel. +358 29 5163317