CAA to issue medical certificates to pilots and air traffic controllers with insulin-treated diabetes

Date: 13 August 2012

Pilots and air traffic controllers with diabetes treated with insulin (and other medications that significantly lower blood glucose), may now be considered for medical certificates by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), it was announced today. Until now, only a limited number of medications for the treatment of diabetes have been allowed for pilots and air traffic controllers (ATCOs) applying for Class 1, 2 and 3 medical certificates. However, over recent years there have been advances in the treatment and monitoring of the disease, allowing the control of the condition and any complications to be managed more effectively. The decision should allow more licensed pilots and ATCOs, who have diabetes, to continue to undertake operational duties safely.

Individual diabetic applicants who are granted medical certificates under the new protocol will, however, be subject to a rigorous monitoring regime, including demonstrated stability of their condition, and regular blood sample self-testing during flight/duty. This is to ensure that an individual does not begin a flight or shift with too high, or too low, a sugar level, and that a safe level is maintained.

Guidance information will shortly be issued by the CAA to pilots and ATCOs setting out the new procedures to follow. This includes the application of operational restrictions and in-flight testing regimes.

Dr Stuart Mitchell, Head of the Authority Medical Section of the CAA’s Medical Department, said: “This decision will benefit many qualified pilots and air traffic controllers, who are currently restricted to non-operational duties because of their diabetes. With the appropriate level of monitoring to ensure safety standards are met, we believe it is right that these experienced individuals are allowed to contribute their valuable skills and knowledge in their chosen field.”

ends

For further media information contact the CAA Press on: 0207 453 6030 press.office@caa.co.uk.

Follow the CAA on www.twitter.com/UK_CAA

Notes to Editors:

The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.