This section explains the approval process for Approved Medical Examiners of Divers (AMEDs) and doctors interested in becoming an AMED.
To undertake medical examinations for the purposes of the Diving at Work Regulations 1997, the doctor must have a valid ‘Certificate of Approval’ issued by HSE. AMEDs are accountable to HSE for the work they carry out. As a condition of approval they undertake to adhere to standards set by HSE in the regulation-specific guidance for AMEDs.
To gain HSE approval to become an AMED, you will need to meet the following requirements:
While you must retain overall responsibility for the statutory medical examination, some elements may be delegated to nurses or occupational health technicians. However, you must ensure that the nurse or occupational health technician is suitably trained and competent. You should examine the diver and assess their fitness to dive as guided by the diving regulations, relevant Approved Code of Practice and MA1.
It is a condition of approval that you respond promptly to requests from HSE for information on your activities as an AMED and you promptly inform HSE of any changes in contact details. If HSE is unable to contact you, your approval may be withdrawn. You should aim to perform at least five statutory medicals a year. If you do not perform any diving medicals over a 12-month period, your approval may be withdrawn.
You must attend a course in basic underwater medicine although this in itself does not guarantee approval. The duration of these courses is up to five days and they cover all the material necessary to enable the doctor to assess fitness to dive for a variety of diving work.
To keep up to date with developments in diving medicine you will be expected to attend a suitable refresher course with the emphasis on diving physiology and fitness to dive. The refresher should be a minimum of two days duration and repeated at least once every five years. The following organisations can provide suitable courses (inclusion in the list does not imply HSE approval or accreditation):
Hyperbaric Medical Centre
Plymouth Science Park
Tel: 01752 209999
Hyperbaric Medicine Unit
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Tel: 01224 553264
Institute of Naval Medicine
Tel: 02392 768091
You should only apply for approval if you can fully meet the requirements AND there is a demand for your services, if approved.
To apply for approval, you should complete application form AMED02 and provide HSE with the following information:
Incomplete applications will be rejected. For example if you do not provide a copy of your current training certificate.
The application form and the additional information requested should be sent by email to: AMED@hse.gov.uk and marked New Applicant.
If satisfactory, HSE will issue you with a Certificate of Approval for one year in the first instance. The certificate is not transferable to another doctor. You are responsible for ensuring you do not undertake medicals beyond the expiry date on your certificate unless issued with a new certificate.
When HSE notifies you that your Certificate of Approval is due for renewal HSE will check you continue to be registered with the GMC and hold a licence to practise. You should complete the renewal form AMED02R and provide the following information:
If you do not provide all the requested information in support of your renewal (for example, you do not submit a valid diving medicine training certificate), HSE may not renew your approval. In these circumstances, once your approval has expired, you will no longer be approved by HSE. Therefore, you will not be able to undertake statutory diving medicals.
When submitting medical records, you should anonymise them by removing or redacting the employee's name and address but still retain their gender and date of birth. If you submit records by post, you should mark them ‘Medical in Confidence’. HSE will destroy the records on completion of the review.
An HSE Medical Adviser will look at the medical records to review your performance against standards based on ‘The medical examination and assessment of commercial divers’ (MA1). Following the review, the HSE Medical Adviser will write to you, indicating whether the outcome was satisfactory or if minor or major improvements are required, setting out any remedial action considered necessary. In exceptional cases, remedial action may include face to face review, usually at an HSE office. Once you have addressed any remedial action that may be necessary, HSE will renew your Certificate of Approval, normally for five years. If serious compliance problems are identified, HSE may decide not to renew your certificate or to issue a certificate of short duration for no longer than one year.
The certificate is not transferable to another doctor and you are responsible for ensuring you do not undertake medicals beyond its expiry date unless issued with a new certificate.
You may appeal against a decision:
If you wish to appeal, you should submit your request within 28 days of receiving formal notice of the decision. You should provide documentary evidence in support of the appeal and send the request in an email to AMED@hse.gov.uk. The email should be marked Appeal and cite your PIN Number.
If there is a verbal complaint made about your work as an AMED, HSE will request written confirmation. To investigate a formal, written complaint, HSE will ask you to provide written comments in response. Alternatively, an HSE Medical Adviser may visit you to gather evidence on which to base their judgement.
Enquiries about the approval process, completed MA2 forms or requests for blank MA2 forms should be marked ENQUIRY and be emailed to: AMED@hse.gov.uk