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DAME newsletter - April 2019
Date of publication:
30 April 2019
From Sanjiv Sharma, Senior Medical Officer
The recruitment of the Principal Medical officer and two Senior Medical officers is well underway. CASA has completed the process of interview from a strong pool of contenders, and we hope to have the new doctors coming on board during the next financial year.
Most of you will be aware that the annual conference of the Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine (ASAM) will be held from 19 to 22 September at the Westin Hotel in Sydney. We look forward to seeing many of you there and building upon our collegial relationship in the spirit of this year’s theme: Celebrating the diversity of aerospace medicine in Australasia. If you’re interested in attending, don’t forget that early bird registration is now open.
One of the major learning points at this conference will be an ophthalmology workshop for Designated Aviation Ophthalmologists (DAOs) on Friday 20 September. This workshop will cover several common ophthalmological issues that arise frequently in determining fitness to fly such as colour vision, visual field defects, cataracts and IOLs and retinal disease. Participants are expected to come away with an improved understanding about aeromedical decision making in ophthalmological conditions among pilots and air traffic controllers. This workshop is particularly suitable for DAOs wanting a refresher in aviation ophthalmology. DAMEs too may find the content valuable in their practice of regulatory aviation medicine.
On a separate note, a matter of concern in recent months has been a spate of complaints related to the DAME-applicant relationship. I understand that not all applicants are aware of the differences between this relationship and the doctor-patient relationship, however, some of the complaints related to poor communication by reception staff, payment for aviation medicals or related consultations, and professional conduct. Despite your busy and hectic practice, I would gently remind all DAMEs that, being CASA delegates, you are expected to act at all times in accordance with the conditions of your appointment. That includes behaving in a professional and civil manner.
Medical examinations housekeeping
Naming conventions for communication and documents
To ensure all communications are correctly uploaded in the Medical Records System (MRS), please remember to include the applicant’s aviation reference number (ARN) in the title of every report, letter or email you submit.
DAME application submissions
Once completed by the DAME, applications for medical certificates should be submitted to CASA within 5 working days as stated in the DAME handbook. Please be mindful of the impact delayed applications could potentially have on applicants.
As of 16 April 2019, there are 203 DAME assessors. This includes previous DAME2 and current DAME assessors. A total of 215 DAMEs have completed the eLearning module.
So far, 1,272 DAME certificates have been issued since 3 April 2018. It’s encouraging to see more DAMEs issuing Class 2 medicals.
When you’re assessing an applicant who has a safety-relevant medical condition, don’t forget to consider revising the period of validity to 12 months, instead of the default 24/48 months.
After consulting the Clinical Practice Guidelines, you may determine that an applicant requires annual surveillance. Where that’s the case, please ensure you advise the applicant in writing that they will need to provide treating doctor reports each year, even where their medical certificate is valid for longer than 12 months.
Statistics for March 2019
A total of 2,378 new applications were received during March 2019.
- Class 1 applications: 1,796
- Class 2 applications: 523
- Class 3 applications: 59
A total of 2,733 medical certificates were issued during the month of March 2019.
- DAME issued certificates: 141
- CASA auto issued certificates: 753
- CASA Assessor issued certificates: 1,839
During the month of March 2019, 79.4% of all applications were completed within 20 business days, with an average processing time of 12.6 days for all classes.
- Class 1: 82.4% completed within 20 business days (average 10.5 days)
- Class 2: 68.6% completed within 20 business days (average 20.4 days)
- Class 3: 75.0% completed within 20 business days (average 13.1 days)