With four and half thousand employees, NATS has a variety of specialists supporting our operation.
Air Traffic Controllers, Engineers and Analysts are all key, but you’re probably not aware of some our smaller specialist teams – such as our medical team of four qualified doctors working at the NATS Aeromedical Centre.
The NATS Aeromedical Centre
The Aeromedical Centre at our Swanwick Centre was originally set up to look after our Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs). Currently, we look after 1,900 ATCOs based in 17 sites around the UK and Gibraltar – providing medical assessments and regulatory advice about health conditions and medication.
But we don’t just look after our controllers. In fact, accreditation from the CAA received in 2012 made our Aeromedical Centre one of only three in the UK that could also carry out EASA and European medicals for pilots and a variety of other aviation professionals.
Since then we have been offering our services more widely and last year we conducted a record number of 1,626 medical assessments, an increase of over 200 from the previous year.
Accreditation means that we can conduct initial and renewal EASA Class 1, 2 and EURO Class 3 medicals as well as Light Aircraft Pilots Licence (LAPL) initial medicals and renewals. Our clients now come from a range of aviation sectors; airports, flight academies and airlines as well as private pilots from the General Aviation community.
Since the 8th of April this year we have also been able to conduct medicals for cabin crews, as they now come under the umbrella of EASA regulations. It looks like 2014 could be a busy year, so I’m glad that we’ll be opening our second Aeromedical Centre in Prestwick soon.
The role of an Aviation Medical Examiner
After qualifying, I worked as a GP for several years before my passion for aviation led me to a role as an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) working for Emirates. In 2012 I joined NATS as an AME working at the Swanwick Centre, and I’ve been enjoying the role immensely.
An AME has specific expertise in understanding the requirements for working in flight and air traffic control environments. We are licensed to carry out assessments of medical fitness for roles within these environments. Our aim is to ensure that all aviation professionals, including pilots, air traffic controllers, flight information service officers and cabin crews, are physically and mentally healthy enough to do their jobs safely and efficiently.
I work with a great team at NATS, which currently comprises four CAA approved AMEs, myself included. Between us we have over 40 years experience in looking after air traffic controllers, pilots, cabin crew and other aviation personnel. We are also members of the EASA ATCO Medical expert group, the CAA Civil Aviation Medical Forum, the Faculty of Aviation and Space Medicine and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine.
It’s safe to say that we are passionate about our profession and are regularly invited to speak at a variety of events by organisations such as the Royal Aeronautical Society and Kings College London, whilst also contributing to ‘Ernsting’s Aviation Medicine’, and appraising physicians for the Society of Occupational Medicine.
Thinking about an Aviation Medical?
If you are an aviation professional and thinking about a medical assessment – we’d be very happy to talk to you. Why not take a look at our Interactive Infographic which explains what is assessed and why.
We know how important it is for you to maintain your health throughout your professional aviation career, a critical aspect of your continuing employment. We’ll work with you sensitively and professionally to help you better understand and manage your health and fitness.
If you are interested, you can find out more about the Aeromedical Centre and the services we provide on our website or contact me directly through the blog.
Please respect our commenting policy and guidelines when posting on this website.