Your Role As A Medical Officer With The RAF

February 10, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Medical Officers in the Royal Air Force look after the health of all RAF personnel in hospitals, on bases and in the air and play a crucial role in keeping all active personnel fit and ready for action. As an RAF Medical Officer, you will handle everything from daily general surgeries to out-of-hours medical cover. You could work in the medical centre at any base, delivering general practice and occupational health services for RAF personnel and their families. Or you could work in one of the RAF units in NHS hospitals around the United Kingdom, dispensing secondary care for all Armed Forces personnel as well as NHS patients.

Primary Care Medical Officers 

Primary care Medical Officers spend most part of their tours at the various RAF bases, while those who focus on secondary care will spend major part of their time in NHS hospitals. Initially this would involve working in smaller medical centres, but after some experience you could move to a busier practice that is attached to a larger flying unit.

Another option would be to take on the responsibilities of an occupational health advisor or assume a teaching role as a GP trainer. You could also choose to work in the planning and development of medical strategies. You would have the opportunity to work around the country and around the world.

Secondary Care Medical Officers 

In secondary care, you will have plenty of opportunities to develop your career up to the level of consultant. Regardless of your chosen specialization, you will get the chance to go to the appropriate centre of excellence.

If you are a secondary care doctor, whether a specialist trainee or a fully qualified consultant, you will have to do a short posting at a medical centre so that you get a first-hand experience of RAF life and you can familiarise yourself with the day to day delivery of healthcare. After this short posting, you could be posted either to an NHS hospital or to the Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit (MDHU) where you will proceed to complete your specialist training or to work as a consultant in your speciality.  

Career Prospects

In primary as well as secondary care, the Royal Air Force offers a well-structured career path that mirrors the responsibilities and challenges of a civilian medical career. There are numerous opportunities and resources available to take you to the top of your profession. Upon registering, you will be offered a Short Service Commission, normally of 3 to 6 years, but once commissioned you may apply for a medium commission of 18 years.

Physical Training Facilities 

Physical training is a vital part of RAF life. Any base that you work at will have plenty of sports facilities that you can avail of free of cost. These would typically include a fully equipped gym and supervised fitness classes.