May 2017

By Dr. Atis Svare, Chair of the ESR Radiology Trainees Forum (RTF)

The adaptation of the radiology training programme has been on the radar within the Latvian radiological community since 2011, and the Board of the Latvian Association of Radiologists has repeatedly applied for changes to a five-year programme since 2012. Nevertheless, the proposal was always turned down due to financial reasons.

During the past two years, the Latvian Association of Radiologists has sent official letters to the Latvian Health Ministry advocating a five-year programme, signed by Prof. Gaida Krūmiņa as head of radiology within the Latvian Ministry of Health and Latvian national delegate to the ESR Education Committee and the UEMS Radiology Section, and Dr. Maija Radziņa, then Chairperson of the Latvian Association of Radiologists. After discussions held during 2016, the Latvian Health Ministry accepted the implementation of a five-year training programme and gave the green light for its preparation.

The new training programme was developed within the Department of Radiology of Riga Stradiņš University. The 2016 edition of the ESR European Training Curriculum for Radiology (ETC) was taken as a basis by Prof. Krūmiņa and me to develop the new five-year training programme. It was established taking into consideration the ETC guidelines and the previous Latvian four-year programme with its national particularities in certain fields of radiology.

The new programme, which consists of level I and level II training, revised and broadened some existing sections, like emergency and oncologic radiology, and nuclear medicine training. Furthermore, it introduced some new chapters, like principles of imaging technology and molecular imaging, communication and management, research, and evidence-based medicine.

As in the previous training programme, the new curriculum emphasises that radiology is a clinical specialty, and accordingly, residents are educated with regard to different aspects of diseases and clinical data, which provides them with the necessary tools to make correct diagnoses in their professional lives.

The current state of the Latvian Training Curriculum for Radiology is that it was already approved by the Certification Committee of the Latvian medical association (Latvijas Ārstu biedrība) and the Latvian Association of Radiologists, and subsequently accepted by the Latvian Ministry of Health, where it is being reviewed at the moment.

As Chair of the ESR RTF Subcommittee, I highly encourage other national societies to follow Latvia’s example in order to achieve standardised education in radiology, which would be beneficial for both radiologists and patients.