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DAME newsletter - October 2017
From Principal Medical Officer, Dr Michael Drane
The AvMed Discussion Paper, released in December 2016, opened a structured discussion, with many opinions addressing the way CASA should look to the future of aeromedical certification. It is no simple matter to balance the powerful enthusiasm to fly with the legitimate obligation to promote public safety. The significance of 'Regulation' was brought home to me while participating in the Australian Defence Force Air Accident Investigation course. Looking at multiple fatal accidents, it is important that lessons from the past are not ignored in future policy work.
Much of my time at CASA has been focused on the move to increasingly robust evidence-based assessment, initiated by my predecessors. The fruit of this has been transparent and defensible decisions made according to a recognised risk assessment standard (ISO 31000:2004).
CASA needs risk-related information, rather than treatment opinions. It's reasonable for people to ask "why doesn't CASA believe my doctor?" The confusion around differences between calculating a risk and the personal clinician's treatment perspective is evident in some submissions to the Discussion Paper. We try to explain this concept by individually contacting all applicants with complex cases. We also rely on your help to guide applicants through this process.
If you are mystified, then please call us. If we are mystified, we might call you! We are very aware that DAMEs are the 'shop front' for the assessment process. I know the work involved in handling contentious areas. Alcohol-related concerns top the list for angry phone calls, followed by psychiatric issues. Please tell us if you are being given a hard time. We are serious about supporting the important work you do.
Contacting AvMed by email
If you are sending an email to AvMed, please use the relevant address so we can ensure you receive the most efficient response. Please note that contacting multiple addresses can result in confusion and unnecessary double handling.
- To provide a report, please upload through the online Medical Records System (MRS). It is immediately available. If it is not possible to upload a report in MRS for any reason, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- For complex issues please email email@example.com
- For enquiries about your DAME delegation please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contacting AvMed by phone
Dial 131 757, 1 # 4
As advised in previous newsletters, the CASA phone system has recently been upgraded. From 1 October 2017, all direct helplines and the 1300 428 633 for AvMed number were switched off.
From now on, if you are contacting AvMed you will need to call 131 757. Below are some helpful tips to help you navigate the new the phone system.
- After calling 131 757, select option 1 to be directed to AvMed. You do not need to wait for all the instructions before selecting this option.
- If you know the Aviation Reference number (ARN) of the applicant you are calling about, please enter the ARN and press #. This enables us to have the relevant file ready for discussion when we answer your call.
- If you don't have the ARN or don't want to enter it for any reason, just press # after you are directed into the AvMed queue.
- You do not need to wait for all the instructions before selecting the next option.
- Press 1 for general questions.
- Press 2 for MRS2 technical support.
- Press 3 for complex case management (CCM) support.
- Press 4 for DAME support.
The simplified phone system will reduce the number of 'lost' calls by directing DAME calls to a pool of staff answering phones. When you press option 4, your call will be prioritised over any applicant calls that may be in the queue. Previously, DAMES called a direct number to a particular staff member. If the staff member was unavailable or on another call – which happened frequently – the query could not be addressed at the time. Although you could leave a message, many DAMEs found this system unsatisfactory. The new phone system addresses this single point of failure and while there may be a short wait if staff are taking other calls, you should experience a better service. Our staff are very capable of addressing the vast majority of DAME queries but in the rare circumstance they cannot, they will refer your call to the most appropriate person.
If you feel you have not been provided satisfactory service, please provide the details of the time of your call so we can investigate any system issues.
Asthma is both over and under diagnosed [Looijmans-van den Akker 2016, Cullinan 2012]. If there is a history of asthma, a pre and post spirometry test is required to determine if there is any improvement of the airways post inhalation of a bronchodilator. Aviation presents particular risks and they need to be adequately assessed at the outset. If requested, please provide the asthma report plus spirometry. An interesting study will be to review the reports against the number of applicants who deny symptoms.
- DAMEs must report a change in medical condition to CASA within 5 days. Please use MRS to do this.
- The application submission button in MRS is getting bigger! Please check that applicants have submitted their applications before they attend their exam.
- Please make sure you provide full reports for ECGs, exercise tests and other reports. This ensures the full report is available in the future and will help reduce uncertainties resulting from second and third hand reporting.
- Don't forget that documents are available online for you to check if you need to.