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DAME newsletter - February to March 2018
Date of publication:
27 March 2018
From Dr Michael Drane, CASA Principal Medical Officer
On the spot Class 2 aviation medical certification - it's in your hands
From 3 April 2018, all designated aviation medical examiners (DAMEs) will be offered the facility to assess and issue a Class 2 medical certificate on the spot, without automatically referring it to CASA.
This change will greatly increase the opportunities for practitioners to be involved in the medical certification process and has benefits for both doctor and applicant.
It will give DAMEs the option to undertake aeromedical assessments to determine whether an applicant meets the required medical standard and will allow you to issue a Class 2 certificate at the time of the examination.
Of course, you will always have the option to refer an application to CASA – if you choose to do so. You now have the choice to issue an on the spot certificate if you deem it appropriate, or you can refer the assessment to CASA's Aviation Medicine team. It's up to you – the decision is in your hands.
Part of the good news is that under the new arrangements, all applicants will pay the CASA application fee before they visit their DAME through the medical records system (MRS). This will free up a great deal of time for both you and your practice staff. I know this will be welcomed.
Online eLearning to help DAMEs assess applications
So, to help you get ready to take up the assessment option, we have developed a comprehensive eLearning online training module. You can access it through your MRS logon, to CASA's AviationWorx web portal which means you can complete the training from anywhere, at any time.
CASA will acknowledge your successful completion of the training, so you will know you are ready on 3 April to take advantage of the new rules. Further information will be provided to help you begin, including updating your access to the medical records system (MRS).
The eLearning module will give you the foundational information you need to know to assess an applicant, such as how to conduct an aeromedical risk assessment, criteria for meeting the regulatory standard, how to issue a medical certificate and appeal options. It also links to the DAME Handbook and Clinical Practice Guidelines, which are already available to you all on MRS1 | 2.
It will also demonstrate and explain the changes to MRS that are a result of this change in the rules and some other improvements that we are introducing to make MRS more responsive.
This will be supplemented in coming weeks by a short questionnaire to enable you to test your knowledge. The new eLearning module and questionnaire will form part of your annual DAME CPD program.
Change to DAME delegation
To make the on the spot option possible, CASA will shortly be issuing a delegation to all DAMEs, which means in practice that you all become delegates of CASA from 3 April. As part of the provision of this delegation, you will be provided details about the nature of the delegation and the conditions that must be met in order to exercise it.
The delegation does not change the current arrangements, in which CASA does not provide indemnity insurance to DAMEs. As now, medical practitioners are required to maintain suitable professional indemnity, of $20 million. Evidence of this cover may be required. (See DAME Handbook Ch 12)
Even though you now have the delegation, it's important to remember that the choice to issue a Class 2 medical certificate is entirely yours. Even if you complete the eLearning and can assess and issue an on the spot certificate, you can still refer an application to CASA for assessment at any time. This is an optional scheme on many levels. If you have any concerns at all, please do not hesitate to refer the application to us.
Other aeromedical reforms from CASA
Several steps have already been taken since a number of changes to the medical certification process were announced late last year by our Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody.
The aim of these changes is to make the aeromedical certification process quicker and easier for both doctors and applicants; reduce the administrative requirements on doctors and practice staff; and improve the MRS system to make it more responsive.
For example, some of these changes include:
- from 1 March 2018 a Class 2 medical certificate became an option for pilots operating non-passenger carrying commercial flights in aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of less than 8618 kilograms. This includes pilots operating in aerial application, flight examiners and flight instructors. Previously, these pilots needed a Class 1 medical for these operations. The change opens the potential pool of pilots for these operations, giving more experienced pilots who no longer hold a Class 1 medical the opportunity to continue to contribute to non-passenger carrying commercial aviation. A benefit is allowing experienced air transport pilots to offer their services and skills to flying training – a change with the potential to benefit current and future pilots.
- From mid-2018, CASA will introduce a new category of private pilot medical certificate, with assessment for this new category – to be known as Basic Class 2. Pilots will have to meet the unrestricted commercial driving licence standard and may be assessed by a range of Medical Practitioners, not only DAME's.
There is a lot of change happening as a result of these reforms, so make sure you keep up to date with all the details through reading the DAME Newsletter and regularly visiting the aviation medicine pages of the CASA website.
1Navathe P, Drane M, Preitner C. Aeromedical decision making: from principles to practice. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2014 May;85(5):576–80.
2Watson DB. Aeromedical decision-making: an evidence-based risk management paradigm. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2005 Jan;76(1):58–62