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Malaga, Spain, 26-30 March, 2001

International Conference on the Radiological Protection of Patients in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy

The Conference was co-sponsored by the IAEA, the European Commission, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization and hosted by the Government of Spain. Nearly 800 senior officers and scientists from 88 Member States, two co-operating organizations and six international professional bodies participated in the conference, namely: the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR), the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), the International Organization of Medical Physics (IOMP), the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA), the International Society of Radiation Oncology (ISRO), the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists (ISRRT), the International Society of Radiology (ISR) and the World Federation of Nuclear Medicine and Biology (WFNMB).


The objective of the Conference was to discuss the current uses of radiation in medicine, the current levels of radiation dose to patients, the history of the use of radiation in medicine and lessons learned from past experience, benefits and radiological risks from medical exposure and international regulatory climate.


The following main topics were covered by the Conference:

  • General diagnostic radiology
  • pecific uses of diagnostic radiology, such as mammography and computer tomography (with special consideration of the impact of digital techniques)
  • Interventional radiology, including fluoroscopy not carried out by radiologists
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Guidance or reference levels in radiology and nuclear medicine examinations
  • Protection of the embryo and foetus
  • Protection of paediatric patients
  • Radiotherapy (including the prevention of exposures differing from prescription)
  • Biomedical research
  • Influence of standardization of medical radiological equipment
  • Education, training and continuous professional development
  • Topics for research and development
  • Regulation of exposure of the patient

Conclusions and outcome

The conference confirmed that there is scope for reducing the radiological risks involved in both diagnostic and therapeutic uses of radiation without reducing the medical benefits. It recognized that everyone in the health care community has a role to play in this. Education and training of staff and appropriate quality assurance arrangements were regarded as essential for this purpose and were underlying themes throughout the conference, and therefore will be reiterated in the detailed findings of the topical sessions discussed below only when particular emphasis needs to be given to them. Its overall recommendation was that the relevant international organizations should convene a group of experts, including experts from professional societies and regulatory bodies, to formulate an action plan based on the findings of the conference for future work relating to the radiological protection of patients. This recommendation was approved by the Board of Governors and endorsed by the General Conference of the IAEA in September 2001.

| Last update: Tuesday, 09 December, 2014.