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Ethical communication: radiological risk to patients participating in trials – do they need to know?

  • 25 May 2021
  • 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
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Ethical communication: radiological risk to patients participating in trials – do they need to know?

Presented by: George McGill

“George McGill is a Medical Physicist with over 25 years experience of Radiation Protection practices in Health care.  As a dual registered Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Medical Physicist  with ACPSEM, Chartered Radiation Protection (SRP) and Chartered Physicist (IoP) professional status and UK state registration as a Clinical Scientist, he has worked in several jurisdictions worldwide in both public and private hospitals, holding certified RP Adviser status in the UK before emigrating to Australia in 2012.  He has recently been appointed a member of the ACPSEM Radiation Protection Special Interest Group. He is an (active) member of ARPS.

Remaining an advocate for continued diligence, training and support in the novel uses of sealed and unsealed radioactive and manmade sources, he strongly supports the formal recognition of the broad range of unique skills required from Radiation Protection professionals in a wide range of industries.  His experience in multiple modalities has made the transition to hybrid imaging less troublesome.  However, maintaining the broad links between industry and health care remains imperative: as the development of resources from the spectrum of industrial uses, often indirectly benefits Health Care.

He enjoys good food, live music, visiting anywhere new including great coastal landscapes with family, as well as the rare opportunity to catch up with friends, old and new - latest pandemics permitting.


ICRP has taken a greater interest in extending the principles of radiation protection, from Justification, Optimisation and Limitation and with the publication of ICRP 138, the ethical foundations of radiation protection need to be considered in practices exposing people and the environment. Have the extension of the principles been fully implemented in healthcare? 

From his experience in assisting neutron activation experiments for human subjects as a student in the 1980’s and using Whole Body Detectors to detect trace radioactive elements, to welcoming the current implementation of a wider range of Thera-nostic agents, he has seen many developments move from the lab to the clinic benefiting the patient over the last 30 years.

“However, on reflecting on what has been learned from others we are forced to consider “what are we doing today – with the best of scientific intentions – that may be perceived as problematic later”.  The starting point may be, what do we need to tell patients when the risks are diverse and may be difficult to quantify?”

With several years experience performing participant radiation dose and risk assessments for a range of trials in the UK and Australia, the question remaining unanswered is  often:  ‘Ethical communication: radiological risk to patients participating in trials – do they need to know?’

 This presentation contains reflections which are his own, and should not be attributed to be the views of his employer, professional body or linked to any Govt policy.

[1] ICRP Publication 138: Ethical Foundations of the System of Radiological Protection (2018)

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