Dr Justin Carter

Aeromedical examinations and Covid-19.

Is it safe to attend hospital for a medical examination?

Yes - it's probably safer than going to the shop for a pint of milk! Through the Covid lockdown period, the general public have become understandably fearful of attending hospital for assessment - often resulting in life limiting conditions going undiagnosed or untreated. Hospitals are putting in huge effort to counter risks (and fear) of attending hospital as you'll see in
this video.

The risks of attending these clinical areas (especially in an outpatient setting) is low and generally speaking, where clinical assessment is warranted, attending for assessment is the right thing to do based on the 'risk / benefit analysis'.

Specific measures are in place to make coming to hospital for any reason as safe as possible and taken together, that's why I'm confident attending for an appointment carries less risk than any other interaction you'll have outside your own household.

When you attend for your aeromedical assessment you will:
  • Be seen in a 'Covid Green' (clinical areas specifically designated for the care of those without Covid-19) outpatient area outside office hours.
  • You will have interaction with a single individual (the AME) who is at very low risk of being infected with (and hence transmitting) Covid-19 for two reasons. Both reasons are products of the strategy to reduce the risk of contracting covid in healthcare settings from healthcare staff. Firstly, like many of my colleagues, I was vaccinated against Covid-19 in mid December 2020. Secondly, as a hospital worker, I am subject to intensive screening (by lateral flow testing) twice weekly for Covid-19.
  • Everyone in the hospital environment is wearing PPE protection.
  • You will be the only patient in the clinical area (besides the AME).
  • Social distancing will be observed except when the requirements of the physical examination dictate otherwise.
  • At all times, both candidate and AME examiner will wear a facemask and additionally the AME will wear a visor .
  • The medical can be cancelled at short notice in the event that either the candidate or the AME (or household members) have symptoms of Covid-19 or are demonstrated to have Covid-19.
  • The surfaces and equipment in the clinic room are cleaned with viricidal decontaminants and surface cleanser between each candidate.
  • Contact details of all attendances are kept for contact tracing purposes.