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February 2017 edition

DAME Newsletter - February 2017

From Principal Medical Officer, Dr Michael Drane

Welcome to the first DAME newsletter for the year. Already there is plenty of work underway, with Dr Peter Clem presenting at ASAM(WA) in Albany, and Dr Sanjiv Sharma and myself at AMSVIC in Melbourne this week. The training sessions have been developed in response to your feedback that you value case studies and examples of how risk assessments are handled. We will endeavour to respond to those requests by providing some interesting cases and learning points for us all.

In other news, we’ve been updating the Clinical Practice Guidelines concerning strokes and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).  There is robust evidence for the significant risk of recurrence following a TIA or stroke, and this is reflected in the assessments of those who are affected. Traumatic brain injury continues to be controversial, due to the complexity of the issues involved. There is a disparity between the initial clinical assessment which informs early management, and the radiological assessment – primarily of blood in the brain – which is the major risk factor for subsequent development of seizures. A seizure in the air is likely to be disastrous, and may happen many years after the initial injury.

Work on drugs and alcohol also continues. I encourage you to keep informed about the Human Intervention and Motivation Study (HIMS) – AUS, which is giving operators and unions the skills to mentor affected people.  DAMEs can be a vital part of the rehabilitation network, enabling pilots to return to work with confidence they are supported and accountable. In the US the recovery rate is around 85 per cent, which is outstanding. We want to see that replicated here.

I look forward to seeing you at one of the ASMA meetings this year. In the meantime, please keep your feedback coming – we really do value it and use it. 


New aviation medicine eLearning course now available

The results of the MRS learning support survey conducted in August 2016 indicated DAMEs were interested in using active learning software to access Medical Records System (MRS) training. As a result of that feedback, we have developed a new aviation medicine eLearning course on mapping problems in MRS.

The course takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and contains examples on how to map a problem, how to change or delete a problem, an incorrectly mapped problem and a well-mapped problem.

Access the course via our website now.

Payment for class 2 medicals

Applicants must pay for class 1 and class 3 medicals in MRS before their application is submitted to a DAME. However, please note applicants must pay the processing fee for class 2 medicals at the time of their examination, otherwise you will not be able to submit the medical to CASA for assessment. The only exception to this is DAME2 examination. A DAME2 can issue the medical certificate directly to the applicant if all the standards are met. This means payment of the CASA processing fee is not required.

Please be assured that you are not taking payment on behalf of CASA or retaining credit card or receipt information. You are only allowing the applicant to pay the processing fee using the secure payment portal accessed through MRS. If you would prefer not to have the applicant pay during the consultation, we recommend your receptionist has access to MRS. This way they can facilitate the applicant’s payment to CASA at the same time they take payment for the medical appointment. This will help ensure there is no unnecessary delay in the medical certification process. 

Clinical governance email

Please note that the email address should be used for DAME correspondence and applicants who have been referred to the complex case management process. If you are emailing Georgie Hill (our assessment facilitator) via this address, please do not cc the applicant into your email. We understand you are trying to ensure that the applicant is aware of your correspondence with us, however in many cases we find applicants continue to communicate with us via this address instead of using the correct point of contact.

DAME contact number

If you need to call Avmed for assistance with an application, please phone us on 02 6217 1170. This line is now staffed by three assessors, including Georgie. If your call is not answered immediately please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Calling Georgie’s direct number may result in a delay as she is often on the phone with other applicants who have complex cases. 

Email notification to submit medicals

We are always striving to improve the timeliness and quality of our regulatory processes. To help us achieve that goal, please ensure that applications are submitted to CASA within five working days of completing a medical examination. Because final submission can sometimes be overlooked, our system sends an automated reminder. Please note that if you are waiting on further information from the applicant, this reminder does not apply. We appreciate your assistance and are looking at decreasing the frequency of these emails so they don’t become a nuisance.

Cancelling a medical

Please note, if you click ‘Cancel’ on the Submission page for a medical application you have commenced in MRS you will also cancel the applicant’s history and payment.  This information will then have to be provided again by the applicant and a further payment made.  If you believe you need to cancel a medical, please call Avmed first for advice before proceeding.


Broaching questions about mood and wellbeing can be a very sensitive area.  If you have concerns about an applicant for a medical, remember the ‘RUOK’ approach.