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There has been an increase in medicals issued by doctors who are not qualified to issue occupational diver medicals. It is important that hyperbaric workers ensure their doctor is properly qualified.
Divers, and others working under pressure, are reminded it is a requirement they hold a current occupational ‘Fitness to Dive’ medical certificate that complies with the Australian Standard/New Zealand Standard 2299.1. This includes being issued by a doctor with the hyperbaric qualifications necessary to perform occupational (also called commercial) diver medicals. This requirement also applies to students participating in all diver and Diver Medical Technician (DMT) courses at ADAS Accredited Training Establishments (ATEs).
ADAS verifies all medicals submitted for students in ADAS training courses, as well as those submitted in applications for license renewals and crossovers.
An increase in occupational medicals issued by doctors who do not hold the required qualifications has been noticed in 2023, and all hyperbaric workers and students are encouraged to confirm the doctor performing their ‘Fitness to Dive’ medical is properly qualified to do so before completing the medical.
A number of students, and those renewing their licenses, have had to pay for a second dive medical performed by a suitably qualified doctor, after their initial medical was issued by a doctor who did not hold the relevant qualifications.
The South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society (SPUMS) website maintains a list of hyperbarically trained doctors in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. To ensure the doctor issuing your certificate is qualified to perform occupational diver medicals, search for them on the SPUMS website and if you cannot locate them, ask when booking your medical if they hold the required qualifications. You are also welcome to contact ADAS for assistance.
The Australian Standard/New Zealand Standard 2299.1 (Appendix M, pg. 111) in its guidance for medical practitioners conducting dive medicals states that:
The medical assessment should be conducted by a medical practitioner who has successfully completed an approved course of training for medically assessing occupational divers. In the absence of a relevant regulatory body, the Board of Censors of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society (SPUMS) is the body approving courses. A list of such courses is available on the SPUMS website: http://www.spums.org.au
Visit the SPUMS website to find a doctor with adequate hyperbaric medicine qualifications: SPUMS diving doctors list
You can find out more on the ADAS website in these articles: