CAA backs down on medicals during lockdown

The CAA has backed down on its position that pilots cannot decide whether to have a medical during lockdown. It now says they can now talk to an AeroMedical Examiner (AME) who “can advise and determine whether conducting a certification appointment is justified”.

FLYER highlighted the issue last week here, prompting a quick response and rethink from the CAA.

One AME told us that, “The CAA have accepted that their advice was at variance with the Cabinet Office guidance which stated that individuals may leave home ‘for any medical reason, including to get a Covid-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies.’

“They have therefore relaxed the previous restrictions that were imposed on Class 2 and LAPL medical examinations during the current lockdown.

“You are now free to attend for your Class 2/LAPL medical if you wish and you do NOT need to email the CAA with your reasons for attending.”

The CAA is also directing pilots to the Pilots Medical Declaration (PMD) which has been extended to some pilots holding EASA licences. See here for that change.

However, the CAA has not changed its position on monitoring the activity of AMEs on a weekly basis to identify cases where a pilot may be breaching government lockdown restrictions

The CAA’s new position was outlined in a letter to AMEs at the end of last week. Here’s the letter in full:

Dear AME Colleagues,

We recently provided guidance that Class 2 and LAPL medical examinations should not routinely take place during the current COVID lockdown. We have had more feedback on this issue from both the AME and GA flying communities, and following discussion with the DfT, particularly in relation to how our guidance sits with both the Cabinet Office guidance on the Public Health requirement to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus, and the DfT’s guidance on which GA activities can continue.

Cabinet Office guidance is that individuals may leave home ‘for any medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies.’  It is the interpretation of ‘any medical reason’ that has caused discussion regarding whether a medical examination for the purpose of a pilot’s licence for recreational flying is included in this definition.

We have therefore agreed that AMEs can advise and determine whether conducting a certification appointment is justified, weighing the risks of attending the appointment  with the flight safety assurance it provides, such as to permit, inter alia, the conduct of engine health and maintenance flights or renew currency that will expire imminently, where the pilot cannot use the medical self-declaration system or does not have the benefit a CAA Exemption extending certificate validity.  

We encourage AMEs to document discussions with the applicant that inform the decision to undertake the appointment, and if you need support or assistance please contact us in the usual way.

CAA Medical