DEFENCE INSTRUCTIONS AND NOTICES
(Not to be communicated to anyone outside HM Service without authority)
Title: Medical Certification for Service Sports Divers
Audience: All service sports divers and all defence medical personnel.
Expires: 31 Dec 08
Released: July 2007
Channel: 06, Training and Education
Content: Change in the procedure for certification of fitness for service sports diving
Sponsor: NLM PAT
Contact: Lt Cdr D Easton RN, SO2AT, HMS TEMERAIRE, Portsmouth, PO1 2HB
Mil: 95380 Ext 22590 Civil: 02392 722590
A. HSE Diving at Work Regulations 1997 List of Approved Classes of Medical Practitioners dated 1 November
B. BR 1750A Handbook of Naval Medical Standards Chapter 8.
C. Joint Service Sub Aqua Diving Regulations dated 1 Apr 07.
D. Surgeon General’s Policy Letter 23/98 Dated 20 October 1998.
1. Recent discussions with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have highlighted the need for the MOD to
align with current legislation and make changes to the process of medical certification for diving conducted within
the Joint Service Adventurous Training (JSAT) scheme. This publication announces these changes and gives a
timetable for implementation.
2. Discussions with the HSE identified that sub-aqua diving conducted under the auspices of Service Adventurous
Training is required to comply with the Diving at Work Regulations 1997. Therefore Service Sports Divers are
required to have a certificate of medical fitness issued by an HSE Approved Medical Examiner of Divers and the
period for which the certificate is issued shall not exceed 12 months.
3. However negotiations, in which the good safety record of Service Sports Diving and the role of the Institute of
Naval Medicine’s 24 hour Duty Diving Medical Officer were presented, have concluded with recognition of Service
Medical Officers and MOD Civilian Medical Practitioners who conduct and record diving medicals in accordance
with BR1750A – Handbook of Naval Medical Standards as ‘an Approved Class of Medical Practitioners’ (Reference
4. Additionally, whilst it is always preferable for a doctor with formal training in diving medicine to certify fitness to
dive (which remains an absolute requirement for Service Occupational Divers), the flexibility for any Service Medical
Officer or MOD Civilian Medical Practitioner to certify fitness for Service Sports Diving has also been agreed and
New Service Sports Diving Procedures
5. The new procedures for the issue of a medical certificate of fitness for a Serviceman or Servicewoman to dive
within the JSAT scheme comprise the following:
a. An initial physical medical examination with a further examination every 5 years up to age 40, every
3 years up to age 50, and annually thereafter. The routine clinical investigations to support the initial
medical examination will no longer include a chest X-ray or full blood count although these may be
required on the basis of individual assessment.
. Annual health surveillance by brief consultation with a Service Medical Officer or MOD Civilian Medical
Practitioner who has access to primary care medical records. This is to ensure that there has been no
significant change in the diver’s health and to meet the legislative requirement for annual certification.
6. The assessment of civilian members of Service branches who are not subject to the Diving at Work Regulations
has already been changed at Reference B so that it now fully aligns with the UK Sports Diving Medical Committee
(UKSDMC) system. Civilian members who have no adverse medical history may self-declare fitness on an annual
basis. Those who do have an adverse history need to be certified by a UKSDMC referee who has expertise in
diving medicine. This change provides a clear line of authority for the medical assessment of civilian members and
it streamlines the medical assessment process for groups such as CCF units.
7. References B to D will be updated to reflect the changes. The revision of BR1750 A will include a template of
the approved medical certificate.
8. It is not acceptable to allow existing certificates to remain valid until the time they were originally due to
expire because of the long periodicity that many of them have. However a phased implementation is required to
avoid overloading medical facilities. Therefore after 1 Jan 2008 existing certificates will continue to be valid until the
anniversary during 2008 of the date on which the certificate was originally issued. (Thus, for example, an existing
certificate that was issued on 26 Jun 2005 for 5 years will now be valid until 25 Jun 2008.) Thereafter the Service
sports diver will need to be in possession of a new BR1750A approved medical certificate of fitness to dive.
9. Further information regarding the policy change can be obtained from SO2AT Tel 9380 22590 or OiC JSSADC
Fort Bovisand 01752 405573 www.jssadc.org.