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September 2016 edition


DAME Newsletter - September 2016

From Principal Medical Officer, Dr Michael Drane

I am writing this in the surgery as one pilot did not attend for a New Zealand medical, and the second cancelled his CASA medical at the last minute. Life!

Congratulations are in order for those involved with the ASAM Annual Conference in Townsville earlier this month. The opening session and keynote address by Dr Kevin McCauley on the neuroscience of addiction set a high standard which continued throughout the conference. The fact that substance related problems and psychiatric illness have been identified as leading causes in fatal aviation accidents continues to focus our attention on the recognition of the clues for such conditions.

Coming from wintery Canberra, the change was stark: I like the warmth! That was also reflected in the positive atmosphere of the meeting. I appreciate the sense of constructive engagement with Av Med during a significant time of change, which has included the release of the new medical records system, MRS. ¬†Thanks to those who have provided some really helpful input. We will do our best to implement what we can. We are meeting to plan longer term work in two weeks’ time and will keep you posted.

We will be engaging with GPs at GP16 and the Rural Medicine Australia 2016 conferences, to raise awareness of aviation medicine related matters and the role of DAMEs. The work to facilitate distance learning also continues: watch this space.

With best wishes,


Make sure applicants submit their medical history before they see you

Before booking in applicants for aviation medical examinations, ask your receptionists to check that:

  • The applicant has completed all of the questions on their medical summary in MRS
  • The applicant has submitted their medical summary by clicking the ‘Submit Medical History’ button on the Summary page in MRS. 

If the applicant has not done this, you will not be able to start the examination.

Payments for Class 2 Medicals

Applicants must pay the processing fee for Class 2 medicals at the time of their medical examination; otherwise you will not be able to submit their medical to CASA to be assessed. DAME2 examinations are the only exception. A DAME2 can issue the medical certificate directly to the applicant if all standards are met. ¬†This means payment of the CASA processing fee is not required.

You are allowing the applicant to pay the processing fee using the secure payment portal accessed from MRS. You are not taking payment on behalf of CASA or retaining credit card or receipt information. Many applicants use smartphones or tablets to complete the payment by accessing their medical via the link sent by CASA. Where this is not possible, we suggest your receptionist have access to MRS so they can facilitate the applicant payment.  It is also possible for you to facilitate the payment by allowing the pilot to enter their credit card details.  This ensures there’s no unnecessary delay in the medical certification process.

Wear glasses when they fly? Remind them to bring their spare pair

If an applicant wears contact lenses or glasses when they fly, they are required to bring their spare pair of glasses with them to their aviation medical examination.

To avoid any unnecessary delay in the medical certification process, ask your receptionists to remind applicants to bring their spare glasses when booking aviation medicals.

New Clinical Practice Guidelines

A number of new and updated Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) have been released. They are:

You may also find it useful to direct applicants to the Aeromedical Guidance page.

Medical turnaround times on track

76 per cent of aviation medical certificates are now being issued within Av Med’s service delivery target of 20 days with the average 14.1 days. The majority of outstanding medicals require further information from the applicants before they can be processed by Av Med.

In early July 2016, only 11 per cent of medicals were being issued within 20 days and more than 4000 medicals were open.

As of midnight Monday 19 September, Av Med had 1,446 open medicals. 1,016 of these medicals required more information from the applicants.

Results of MRS learning support survey

Problem mapping/SNOMED is the MRS task most DAMEs want to learn more about, according to the results of the recent survey on options for MRS learning support.

299 DAMEs took part in the survey. Around 84% nominated problem mapping/SNOMED as the task they want to learn more about.

12% said they would take part in a webinar, more than 36% said they would use active learning software and almost 40% said they would use both.

12% said they would not take part in a webinar or use active learning software. Many of these respondents said this is because they have already taken part in face-to-face MRS training and are happy with their knowledge of MRS.