WHO is WHO in radiation oncology?

In 2012 the BVRO/ABRO and the VBS/GBS decided to join forces.

Several activities overlapped and were sometimes not coordinated. Also the number of active members was limited. A complete fusion of the two organisations was not possible, because the VBS/GBS has only medical specialists (and trainees) as members (see below), whereas the BVRO-ABRO also has physicists (…) and foreign members. Therefore it was decided that the 2 organisations will continue to exist separately, but that the board of the VBS/GBS and BVRO/ABRO would be mirrored: both boards have identical structure and board members. Or in other words : each board member has 2 caps. In practice meetings are always joint meetings.

The BVRO-ABRO board believes that it is in the interest of all involved to make all representative organisations well known, and to underline the specific role of each organisation. Below is the February 2017 version of an overview of ‘who is who’ in radiation oncology in Belgium. We included information concerning organisations for all partners involved in radiation oncology (physicians, physicists, RTT’s, …).

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FAQ concerning Belgian radiation oncology organisations

What is the difference between BVRO/ABRO and VBS/GBS?

What is the difference between VBS/GBS and syndicates?

What is the role of the College?

Why is it important to be a member of BVRO/ABRO?

Why is it important to be a member of VBS/GBS?

Why are there 2 societies (BVRO/ABRO and VBS/GBS) and not just one?

Why is it important to link BVRO/ABRO and VBS/GBS as close as possible?

What about syndicates: do I need to be a member?

I’m not a member of the organisation BVRO-ABRO-GBS-VBS because I don’t agree with some of the actions of the organisation. Why do you insist?

Why is BRAVO not a part of BVRO/ABRO?

The ABRO/BVRO-GBS/VBS annual fee is quite “expensive” – which are the advantages of being a member?

 

Table of contents:

Belgian Organisations:

BVRO-ABRO

VBS/GBS

College of physicians for centra of radiation oncology

BRAVO

BVZF / SBPH / BHPA

VVRO

AFITER

MedicoMut

Syndicates

International Associations:

UEMS

ESTRO

 

BELGIAN ORGANISATIONS

BVRO-ABRO

Belgische Vereniging voor Radiotherapie-Oncologie,

Association Belge de Radiothérapie-Oncologie

www.abro-bvro.be

The BVRO/ABRO is the scientific organisation of radiation oncology in Belgium. Membership is open for Radiation oncologists, Radiation oncologists in training, Radiation physicists, Radiobiologists, biomedici, radiation therapists. The BVRO/ABRO is a non-profit organisation in agreement with Belgian law.

Aims

  • To promote the development and practice of radiotherapy and oncology together with other medical specialities for the benefit of the patient
  • To participate in activities that promote this goal. Financial activities can only take place in function of these goals

Activities

  • ABRO-BVRO organizes two scientific meetings each year (the spring meeting and the autumn meeting). During these meetings both junior and senior members have the opportunity to present recent scientific work. 
  • ABRO-BVRO facilitates the interuniversitary training courses for members and junior-members and the national exam for board certification
  • Information task to the public, physicians, government and media

Board members (2017-2019). The board is renewed every 2 years

  • Dr. J.-F. Daisne (president)
  • Dr. D. Van Gestel (president-elect)
  • Dr. M. Brosens (secretary)
  • Dr. J. Vanderick (treasurer, representative of UEMS)
  • Dr. O. De Hertogh (member)
  • Dr. N. Jansen (member)
  • Dr. Y. Neybuch (member)
  • Dr. I. Joye (junior member)

Invited board members

  • Prof. K. Haustermans (chair educational and scientific committee ABRO-BVRO)
  • Dr. V. Remouchamps (president college)
  • Prof. P. Meijnders (representative of UEMS)
  • F. Vanhoutte (president BVZF/BSPH)

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VBS/GBS

Verbond der Belgische Beroepsvereningingen van geneesheren-Specialisten

Groupement des unions professionnelles Belges de médecins Spécialstes

www.vbs-gbs.org

The VBS/GBS is the alliance of unions of medical specialists. Each medical specialty has its own association. The radiation oncologists are represented by the “Belgische beroepsvereninging der geneesheren-specialisten in radiotherapie en oncologie/ Union professionelle belge des médecins spécialistes en radiothérapie et oncologie”. Medical specialists and trainees are member of their union, who is represented in the main organisation of the VBS/GBS. The VBS/GBS is a non-profit organisation in agreement with Belgian law.

The goal of  the VBS/GBS is to study, protect and develop professional interests and issues of its members.  Membership is open for radiation oncologists and radiation oncologists in training.

Aims

  • The defence of individual and collective professional interests
  • Promote solidarity and professional dignity among the members, the other physicians, patients, medical organisations and government.
  • Study and prepare all questions on the professional practice of radiation oncology, promote solutions on professional areas and practice conditions

Activities

  • Negotiate the nomenclature with the government
  • Keep track of new legislature and changes in legislature, and react if necessary
    • Professional title
    • Right of prescription of (new) drugs
    • Legislation for other specialisations, interfering with our own (f.i. legislation for medical oncology)
    • Management or health economics
  • Accreditation of professional activities
  • Relations with FANC
  • Information task to the public, physicians, government and media
  • Assistance to its members with legal, economical, medical or financial expertise
  • The VBS/GBS offers insurances to members

Board members (2017-2019). The board is renewed every 2 years

  • Dr. J.-F. Daisne (president)
  • Dr. D. Van Gestel (president-elect)
  • Dr. M. Brosens (secretary)
  • Dr. J. Vanderick (treasurer, representative of UEMS)
  • Dr. O. De Hertogh (member)
  • Dr. N. Jansen (member)
  • Dr. Y. Neybuch (member)
  • Dr. I. Joye (junior member)

Invited board members

  • Prof. K. Haustermans (chair educational and scientific committee ABRO-BVRO)
  • Dr. V. Remouchamps (president college)
  • Prof. P. Meijnders (representative of UEMS)
  • F. Vanhoutte (president BVZF/BSPH)

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College of physicians for centra of radiation oncology

www.health.belgium.be/eportal/Healthcare/Consultativebodies/Doctorscolleges/Radiotherapy

The college is a governmental commission, whose members are assigned by the Minister of Health and completed by experts (physicists, radiation oncologists, RTT/nurses).

Aims

  • To describe and improve the quality of radiation oncology in all domains

Activities (not limited)

  • Organization of audits (5 centers are audited each year by members of the expert panel)
  • Development, measurement and analysis of quality indicators in radiation oncology
  • PROCARE, PROCAB, PROCALU: improvement of target definition and delineation
  • BELdART project: dosimetric evaluation of all radiation devices
  • PRISMA project: incidence report system, registration of incidences, near-accidents and accidents

Composition of the College (AR/KB 26/11/2012)

  • Prof. Y. Lievens (president)
  • Dr. V. Remouchamps (vice-president)
  • Prof. C. Weltens (secretary)
  • Prof. D. Van den Weyngaert
  • Dr. R. Burette
  • Dr. L. Moretti
  • Dr. N. Jansen
  • Dr. K. Stellamans

Composition of the panel of experts

  • Radiation oncologists
    • Prof. P. Scalliet
    • Dr. P. Spaas
    • Dr. P. Huget
    • Dr. J.-F. Daisne (president ABRO-BVRO)
  • Physicists
    • A. Rijnders
    • F. Vanneste
    • M. Van Dycke
    • Prof. D. Verellen
    • F. Vanhoutte (president BVZF/BSPH)
  • RTT/nurses
    • G. Vandevelde
    • P. Bijdekerke

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BRAVO

Belgian Radiation Oncology Awareness and Visibility Organization

www.bravo-radiotherapie.be

The BRAVO is an initiative of professionals in radiation oncology and in industry. This organisation wants to create better awareness of radiation-oncology as a safe and very modern treatment method of cancer. Part of the members are representatives of BVRO/ABRO/VBS/GBS, some of them are members of the board. Other members are industrial partners, who are member of beMedTech (Belgian federation of industry and medical technologies). The secretariat is located in the headquarters of beMedTech in Wemmel.

Aim

  • to spread this message among patients, medical colleagues, politicians and press.

Activities

  • organize a 2-yearly symposium with an invitation to the press and administration
  • inform the general public via the website, but also healthcare professionals and governmental partners
  • react on (negative) publications in the press
  • support a thesis research investigating the perception of radiotherapy among the Belgian population

Medical partners

  • Prof. Gert De Meerleer (co-president), radiation oncologist UZ Leuven
  • Dr. Nicolas Christian, radiation oncologist CH Jolimont-Lobbes-Tubize
  • Prof. Philippe Coucke, radiation oncologist CHU du Sart Tilman Liège
  • Dr. Nicolas Jansen, radiation oncologist CHU du Sart Tilman Liège
  • M. Coevoet, medical physicist Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc Bruxelles
  • Aude Vaandering, RTT Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc Bruxelles and vice-president Afiter.be
  • Prof. Paul Meijnders, radiation oncologist Iridium Kankernetwerk
  • Prof. Dirk Verellen, medical physicist Iridium Kankernetwerk
  • Dr. Dirk Van Gestel, radiation oncologist Institut J. Bordet Bruxelles
  • Y. Jourani, medical physicist Institut J. Bordet Bruxelles
  • Dr. Liv Veldeman, radiation oncologist UZ Gent
  • Ludwig Van den Berghe, head nurse radiation oncology dept. UZ Gent and board member of VVRO

Industrial partners

  • Orfit Industries (S. Cuypers, co-president)
  • Accuray Europe (S. Thompson)
  • BXT Accelyon (M. Voncken)
  • De Ceunynck Radiotherapy (J. Van Dam + B. Noordkamp)
  • Elekta (M. Guerchaft + B. Gitmans)
  • RaySearch Laboratories (A. Zimmermann)
  • Varian Medical Systems (P. Vereecke)
Trade union
  • beMedTech (H. Hellinckx)
  • SCK-CEN (Prof. S. Baatout)

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BVZF / SBPH / BHPA

Belgian Hospital Physicists Association

www.bhpa.eu

Voluntary organization that gathers medical physicists from Belgium

Aims

  • to share and improve the knowledge of this specific field of Physics. Medical Physics can be found in three medical departments: Radiotherapy, Nuclear Medicine and Radiology.
  • quality control and treatment quality

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VVRO

Vereniging voor Verpleegkundigen in Radiotherapie en Oncologie

www.vvro.be

Association of oncology nurses and RTT’s, catering mainly for the Flemish speaking part of the country.

Aims

  • contribute to the quality of care for oncology patients
  • bring together oncology nurses, RTT’s and other health care givers of cancer patients
  • support of oncology nurses and RTT’s in their daily practice

Activities

  • organizing symposia
  • organizing education
  • cooperation with medical organizations
  • interlocutor for governmental organizations and other health care partners, stand up for the professional activities
  • website, distribution of the VVRO journal

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AFITER

Association of oncology nurses and RTT’s, catering mainly for the French speaking part of the country.

            www.afiter.be

Aims

  • Create a network of staff involved in radiation oncology care : nurses, medical imaging technologists, and other paramedical staff or assimilated staff active in Belgian radiation oncology centres
  • Officially represent these staff members Représenter les auxiliaires de radiothérapie, particulièrement les infirmier(e)s et les TIM francophones exerçant leur profession en radiothérapie.
  • Stimulate the sharing of professional experience
  • Participate in all actions to continuously improve care given and technical activities performed by these staff members
  • Communicate with governmental organisations on topics related to their members, including training and recognition topics
  • Link to other organisations involved in radiation oncology

Activities

  • organizing symposia
  • cooperation with medical organizations
  • website

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MedicoMut

The MedicoMut is the National Committee of Physicians and Health Insurances, and is one of the most well-known RIZIV committees. The physicians are represented by the syndicates: the members are elected every 4 years, the last election was in 2014. The representation of physicians is:

  • General physicians: 3 members of AADM,  2 members of the Cartel and 1 of BVAS
  • Medical specialists: 5 members of BVAS and 1 member of the Cartel

The MedicoMut determines the honoraria for nomenclature. The agreement is settled for 2 years. One of the other topics is the general medical patient file.

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Syndicates

A syndicate is a ‘trade union’ of physicians (general physicians and medical specialists) with the primary goal to guard and protect the interests of physicians, without neglecting those of their patients. There are several syndicates in Belgium: they have their own “election program” and focus on topics which they find most important.

BVAS/ABSYM

Belgische Vereninging van Artsen Syndicaten

Association Belge des Syndicats Médicaux

www.absym-bvas.be

A union of general physicians (ca. 40%) and medical specialists (ca 60%)

Main goals

  • suitable honorarium for physicians, payment for prestations
  • free choice of physician and hospital
  • balance between work and private: adequate guard-duty arrangements, pensions, time-tables for physicians in training
  • affordable professional assurances, security of private practice
  • reduction of administrative burden
  • enhance quality of the medical profession

HET KARTEL / LE CARTEL

http://lecartel.be

This is a conglomerate of 3 syndicates:

ASGBAlgemeen Syndicaat der Geneeskundigen van België (www.asgb.be)

GBOGroupement Belge des Omnipracticiens (www.le-gbo.be)

MoDeSle Monde Des Spécialistes (www.lemondedesspecialistes.be)

Main Goals

General physicians

  • keep the profession healthy and attractive
  • enhance the role of the general physician in first line health care
  • promote cooperation between general physicians (local organisations, scientific organisations)

Medical specialists

  • keep the profession healthy and attractive
  • enhance activities intramuros
  • simplified, performant and transparent mixed reimbursement (no all-in finance)
  • enhance quality of education

AADM

Alliantie Artsenbelang – Domus Medica

Alliance Avenir des Médecins

http://www.aadm.be/nl/

A novel union of physicians

Main goals

  • alternative for 2 other syndicates
  • reorganisation of Belgian health care, reinforcement of first line, second/third line should be adapted to this concept (they have a supportive function towards the first line)
  • more attention for equal health care for all patients
  • horizontal health care organisation, enhancement of echelons
  • efficient (electronical) communication between health care providers, less administration
  • recalibration of nomenclature

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FAQ concerning Belgian radiation oncology organisations

What is the difference between BVRO/ABRO and VBS/GBS?

  • The main task of BVRO/ABRO is promoting scientific and educational development (f.i. meetings and educational courses).
  • The main task of VBS/GBS is to be a representative partner for the government, defending collective and individual professional interests (f.i. nomenclature, legislation).

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What is the difference between VBS/GBS and syndicates?

  • The VBS/GBS is an association of professional organisations according to their medical specialities, the syndicates are unions of individual physicians. The VBS/GBS is a non-profit organisation in agreement with Belgian law. The VBS/GBS is not a syndicate: for syndicates you must go to BVAS/ABSYM or The Cartel or AADM.
  • The type of interest is different: the syndicates may aim at the optimalisation of the honoraria of individual physicians, while the VBS/GBS takes care of an honest financing and regulation of the specialty as a whole.

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What is the role of the College?

  • The college is a peer review committee, assigned by the minister of Health. Her main task is enhancing the quality of radiation oncology in Belgium.
  • The members are assigned by the minister, no elections here.

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Why is it important to be a member of BVRO/ABRO?

  • The BVRO/ABRO takes care of the training to become a radiation oncologist, and for the organisation of scientific meetings.
  • The BVRO/ABRO takes care of the medical and scientific content, which you need to conduct your practice, the VBS/GBS takes care of the financial resources needed to pay for this all.

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Why is it important to be a member of VBS/GBS?

  • The VBS/GBS takes care of a fair reimbursement of your medical activities. This is important for radiation oncologists in all types of hospitals. The power is where the resources are : if the department of radiation oncology is correctly financed, you will have more resources for your clinical and academic activities.
  • The VBS/GBS is the official representative of the profession of radiation oncologists in several official councils, not the BVRO/ABRO. So only through the VBS/GBS we can make our voice heard, because the VBS/GBS is the official partner at the table for government.

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Why are there 2 societies (BVRO/ABRO and VBS/GBS) and not just one?

  • Historical reasons
  • The VBS/GBS is only for physicians, the BVRO/ABRO is open for other professions (physicists, radiobiologists, biomedici, RTTs). We do not want to lose these valuable members, so complete fusion is not possible.
  • Non-Belgian professionals might be interested in becoming a member of the scientific society (BVRO/ABRO). They are not interested in the non-scientific part of the profession (VBS/GBS).

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Why is it important to link BVRO/ABRO and VBS/GBS as close as possible?

  • The number of active members in both societies is limited. We are one of the smallest medical societies and have to compete with much larger societies, who can distribute all the work among more people. If you are not present at meetings, the voice of your profession is not heard.
  • Some of the activities are not clear cut separated between BVRO/ABRO and VBS/GBS. In the past it happened several times that both societies have not coordinated activities, which is of course not in the interest of our profession. Therefore, it was decided in 2012 that the board members of BVRO/ABRO would be mirrored in the board of VBS/GBS, which means that every board member has 2 caps in the same function (f.i. president of the BVRO/ABRO is also president of VBS/GBS).
  • Some BVRO/ABRO members do not want to be member of VBS/GBS. Most of them confuse the VBS/GBS with the syndicates, which of course is not correct (which by now should be clear). However, it is very difficult to make our voice heard in reimbursement items if you represent less than 50% of all radiation oncologists. This has major implications in negotiations with the governmental administration, RIZIV, other medical professions, in the VBS/GBS main organisation etc.

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What about syndicates: do I need to be a member?

  • That is something very personal: united you are stronger in negotiations. Syndicates defend your interests in MedicoMut (see above). However, some have strong feelings against the concept of syndicates.

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I’m not a member of the organisation BVRO-ABRO-GBS-VBS because I don’t agree with some of the actions of the organisation. Why do you insist?

  • In the end it is of course your decision what you like and don’t like, and if you want to be member or not
  • The organisation is there FOR YOU and works with a limited number of board members. If you want to make your voice heard, please do ! You can contact the organisation to be a candidate as a future board member, or you can be part of the forthcoming workgroups that will help shape the future of radiation oncology in Belgium.
  • The BVRO-ABRO-GBS-VBS is aware that some communication of the general GBS-VBS organisation in the past was not as we would have done it as radiation oncologists. It is by becoming a larger group within the VBS-GBS that we will make us better heard
  • If there is any action of the organisation that you don’t like, please tell us WHY and we will be happy to do what we can. More specifically, if you believe the radiation oncologists within the VBS-GBS have defended a point that would be more like a ‘syndicate’ point, tell us what bothered you.

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Why is BRAVO not a part of BVRO/ABRO?

  • Part of the aims do overlap: Information task to the public, physicians, government and media. To prevent potential conflict of interest, several medical members are representatives of BVRO/ABRO .
  • BVRO/ABRO lacks manpower to react fast to publications in the press
  • BVRO/ABRO lacks funding and manpower for the secretariat and the website
  • Prevent potential conflict of interest: BVRO/ABRO as a scientific organisation wants to be totally independent and avoid any suggestion of industrial influences.
  • Industrial members cannot be member of BVRO/ABRO
  • BRAVO and Unamec have specific experience in communication with different levels of stakeholders

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The ABRO/BVRO-GBS/VBS annual fee is quite “expensive” – which are the advantages of being a member?

  • (please note that members of the board are not paid for this activity)
  • reduced fees for scientific meetings
  • make the running of the BVRO-ABRO possible, and this includes the numerous activities for our young colleagues in training. It’s investing in the future of our specialty.
  • financial support to both scientific and political representations : it is because you contribute that the organisation can represent and defend YOU. It’s a question of solidarity.
  • The government wants new strict quality norms for radiation oncology. These are likely to change for ALL of us our daily routine. If you want optimal future norms for our specialty, you need to contribute yourself. At least by being a member, if possible as a board member or by being involved in working groups
  • Healthcare in Belgium and the financing of healthcare is likely to dramatically change over the next years. As a small specialty we risk to be pushed aside by larger players. Now more then ever we need to be together and strong at the forefront of modern medicine.

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INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

UEMS

Union Européenne des Médecins Spécialistes

European Union of Medical Specialists

www.uems.eu

The VBS/GBS is part of the European union: the UEMS. The radiation oncologists are represented by the section Radiotherapy.

Aims

  • The study, promotion and harmonisation of the highest level of training of the medical specialists, medical practice and health care within the European Union
  • The study and promotion of free movement of specialists doctors within the EU
  • The representation, within this framework of the medical specialist profession in the Member States of the EU, to EU authorities and any other authority and/or organisation dealing with questions directly or indirectly concerning the medical profession, and any action which might further the achievement of the afore mentioned objectives
  • The defence of the professional interests of European Medical Specialists

Activities

  • Setting up Sections and Boards for each medical specialty
  • Setting up a general system of accreditation of Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development, Postgraduate Training and Quality Management at European level
  • Setting up working groups on issues of interest for medical specialists at European level
  • Organising seminars and studies in the relevant fields of specialist medicine
  • Any other activity which would be considered necessary

Note

Unlike in most other UEMS associations, many of the educational activities for radiotherapy are coordinated by ESTRO, not by UEMS-RT.

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ESTRO

European SocieTy for Radiotherapy & Oncology

www.estro.eu

Founded in 1980, ESTRO is a non-profit and scientific organisation that fosters the role of Radiation Oncology in order to improve patients’ care in the multimodality treatment of cancer.

Aims

  • to promote innovation, research dissemination of science through its congresses, special meetings, educational courses and publications
  • to promote that every cancer patient in Europe will have access to state of the art radiation therapy, as part of a multidisciplinary approach where treatment is individualised for the specific patient’s cancer, taking account of the patient’s personal circumstances.

Activities

  • organizing conferences or participation in joint conferences
  • promote and enhance education in ESTRO school for Radiotherapy & Oncology
  • organisation of ESTRO fellowships
  • Support  international exchange on the background and outcome of  clinical and translational cancer research
  • Promote international standards for radiation oncology
  • Promote respect for the diversity of radiation oncology practice in Europe and worldwide
  • Identify the needs for European education, through individuals, groups and national societies, and develop specific educational programmes to fulfil these needs
  • Develop programmes in line with and supported by the European Core Curricula and guarantee regular updates of both the curricula and the programmes
  • Cooperate with pre-existing programmes and develop new programmes in collaboration with other societies inside and outside Europe, in particular in the developing World
  • HERO (Health Economics in Radiation Oncology) project: help to define an optimum for the need of radiotherapy in Europe
  • Many more projects.See the ESTRO website.

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