Bullish new medical measures to give more pilots wings

Chris Bateman


Pilots, cabin crew members and air traffic controllers, frustrated by outdated protocols for medical certification which lead to lengthy delays and unnecessary and expensive appeals, will by this September begin benefiting from a major systemic upgrade.
An over-reliance by South Africa’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the under-resourced military for the verification of medical certificates plus the lack of a clear definition of ‘acceptable medical risk’ are now being addressed as top priorities.

A vital additional quality assurance instrument will be the newly formed 15-member Aeromedical Committee, established by the CAA late this April to supplement and bolster the SA Military Health Services’ longstanding Institute for Aviation Medicine (IAM).

Explaining the reasons for the overhaul, Dr Lesego Bogatsu, Senior Manager for Aviation Medicine at the CAA, said insufficient specialists available to adjudicate cases plus the redeployment of military doctors meant verification backlogs had built up.
Other challenges included outdated medical protocols (some of them requiring identical medical criteria for cabin crew members, pilots and air traffic controllers), the lack of an integrated information technology system between stakeholders, administrative errors and limited participation of medical universities in the overall risk minimising process.
She said that Colonel Noel Ndlhovu, Officer in Command at the IAM, had ‘given his word’ that the verification backlog would be cleared within 3 months.

Author's affiliations

Chris Bateman, HMPG

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medical certification, pilots, South African Civil Aviation Authority

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2010;100(9):562,564.

Article History

Date submitted: 2010-05-27
Date published: 2010-09-07

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