Wow, December already – how did that happen? I have now been President for virtually a quarter of my total time in the role!
So, where to begin? Well, 2021 started with the country in the middle of lockdown with real uncertainty as to how long it would last. Hopefully it will not end that way, despite the Omicron variant. Although we continue to see a sense of uncertainty in the current climate, as a Society we have nonetheless remained secure and stable, and have had our successes through the year.
We had already established a webinar programme, together with AURPO, in the second half of 2020 to try to help our members to keep in touch and indeed to develop their expertise and understanding of RP despite the lack of opportunities due to the lockdowns. That programme of webinars have continued to prove very popular with SRP and non-SRP members alike – a real success story through 2021.
We were also able to hold our Annual Conference and General Meeting in Bournemouth, running it as the first hybrid event –i.e. both for face-to-face and virtual attendees. It was great success, despite some technical problems, which were a real learning outcome for the future, and it was so wonderful to be able to chat and network with fellow RP professionals face to face (albeit with masks on as appropriate)!
We had a very productive first face to face Council meeting in September since December 2019, and I have already got to visit UKAEA to give Jen Angus her well-deserved Jack Martin Award for Best Oral Presentation at the Annual Conference (photo on left), and then to visit Cambridge to give Claire Cousins her letter of recognition from our Patron, The Lord Carlile of Berriew, for all her work for ICRP over the past twenty years. I am so pleased to say, it was the total surprise to Claire that we had hoped it would be. Indeed it was as much a surprise as it was when we presented the same to Roger Coates at the Annual Conference dinner in recognition of his work initially for IAEA but then for IRPA, including his Presidency from May 2016 to January 2021.
In the rest of this blog I want to ask for your help on a number of matters:
Firstly, you will hopefully have noticed that there was a special newsletter published on 26th November asking for SRP members to consider volunteering for Officer and Non-Officer (Trustee) positions on Council, and there are also other committees and groups within SRP that have vacancies. From my own personal experience I do feel that I, as well as my Employer, have benefited from my involvement in SRP Committees and working groups over the years, and the networking it entails. It is not just the rewarding feeling of playing my part for the Society, but also the ability to regularly discuss ideas as well as issues with fellow RP professionals, not just from my own medical sector but also from the other sectors represented by our members. May I therefore encourage you to seriously consider applying to take up a role on Council or other SRP Committee!
Secondly, as an RP professional who has been a member of SRP for 20 years now, I have always felt supported by the Society, both in terms of career development resources available to me and the networking I have referred to above, by attending one day meetings and the Annual Conferences. However, I recognise that currently membership of SRP for our younger and more junior colleagues in radiation protection and allied fields, does not seem to be such an obvious choice so early in their careers. I therefore want to ask you all to encourage those of our colleagues who not currently members to apply – to see the benefit of having a professional body to support career development and to build those networks with other members from such an early stage in the career pathway, including the mentoring arrangements available through our Rising Generations Group.
With membership of SRP comes the next logical step, and that is to seek professional registration. Again it is all too easy to see this as something that comes rather later in a career rather than earlier. However we do have available three levels of registration accessible to individuals from early on the career pathway – Technical Radiation Protection Professional (TechRadP) – through the next level recognising a more developed competency – Incorporated Radiation Protection Professional (IRadP) – and on to the highest recognition of Chartered Radiation Protection Professional (CRadP). So, I encourage all of you who have not as yet applied for professional registration to consider it, and to encourage your colleagues to do the same. The benefits of such registration are set out on the Radiation Protection Council website and summarised on our own SRP webpages. You will see in the latest edition of Radiation Protection Today being published this month an article on registration that includes two testimonies from current registrants. Additionally, the application forms can be accessed here.
The Society is now coming towards the end of its current five-year strategic plan, and is reviewing progress on the objectives and enabling strategies put in place in 2018. This review will in part inform us on the work still to be done, but we must also now turn our attention to our membership to help decide the significant issues to be addressed in the next five years. We will also include our stakeholders (our partner societies, our employers, the Regulators / Government, and the public) in the consultations. So, we need your views! To that end I am drafting a questionnaire to go out to the membership to ask your opinions about what we need to do as a Society to support your work and to improve radiation protection in the workplace. Please do get involved!
Finally, I want to encourage you to get involved in the consultations towards the revision of the ICRP Recommendations. This is going to be a long process over the next 8-10 years, but it will be broken down into specific topic areas, and SRP has got representation on the IRPA Task Group charged with bringing together the opinions of the RP professionals and feeding them through to ICRP to ensure that the resulting Recommendations are fit for purpose and practicable for use in the workplace. SRP has put together as small working group under the Committee for Liaison with International and Partner Societies(CLIPS) to draw together the views and opinions of the RP professionals in the UK to feed back to IRPA and directly to ICRP, and will ask for your views and opinions on the topics that come up for consideration as the ICRP consultation process advances. We will keep you informed through the SRP website – so again, please do get involved!
May I wish you all a very restful and Merry Christmas and a Happy (and Covid-free) New Year.
Jim Thurston, CRadP, FSRP.