At the end of a public consultation in October 2014, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has confirmed one of the options it is exploring as an alternative to the way it currently provides medical services is the outsourcing of its AeroMedical Centre (AeMC) to a suitable private sector provider. However, it has not yet set a timetable for any changes.

As stated in the consultation, the CAA’s goal is for its Medical Department to operate more efficiently by focusing on its core duties. The CAA’s current view is that best practice would also be improved by separating a service delivery function from the body that regulates that function.

The AeMC is based at the CAA’s Gatwick headquarters, and provides initial medical examinations for trainee commercial pilots and air traffic controllers. There are also three other approved providers – the NATS Aeromedical Centre at Swanwick in Hampshire, the NATS Aeromedical Centre at Prestwick in Ayrshire, and Aviation Medical Services at Horley in Surrey.

The CAA said it would also consider outsourcing some of the activities of its Authority Medical Section (AMS) and Aviation Health Unit (AHU), although no firm decision had yet been taken. The AHU provides health advice to passengers, the aviation industry and healthcare professionals on all aspects of flying, while the AMS, amongst other things, undertakes assessments of the fitness of pilots and ATCOs to return to flying after illness, and oversees the network of AMEs.

The responses of the CAA to issues raised during the consultation process can be found here. A total of 40 responses to the consultation were received from a range of stakeholders, including individual pilots, unions, trade associations and healthcare professionals.

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