Training of diving doctors

Earlier this year, IMCA provided Diving Division members with the latest guidance note from the Diving Medical Advisory Committee (DMAC) – Approval of Diving Medicine Courses (DMAC 29).  An article in the February newsletter set out a brief explanation of the new arrangements, edited from the following:

When accident or illness arises on a working dive the medical help available anywhere in the world is usually excellent, commonly from doctors trained when serving in the military or on specialist courses in occupational health or clinical medicine.  However, as military deep diving and related diving research has died away over the past 20 years, fewer doctors have gained the expertise needed by the diving industry from this traditional training ground.  At the same time there are now more hospital doctors who use hyperbaric oxygen chambers to treat a wide range of medical conditions (including divers with acute decompression illness) but who often lack detailed knowledge of the other medical and physiological hazards of diving.

For the last few years representatives of the European Committee of Hyperbaric Medicine (ECHM), an entirely medical committee, and the medical subcommittee of the European Diving Technology Committee (EDTCmed), have been defining the categories of doctors needed in the fields of hyperbaric and diving medicine and have reviewed the training objectives required to attain competence in those tasks.

In the absence of an alternative approval body, the independent Diving Medical Advisory Committee (DMAC) has come together with EDTCmed to establish a scheme for the approval of training in diving medicine, as set out in DMAC 29 – Approval of Diving Medicine Courses.  The scheme covers two levels of course:

Level I courses are for those who wish to be recognised or approved as medical examiners of divers (AMEDs).  Similar courses are widely available around the world but in diving medicine each should be regarded as only introductory.  Medical examiners should continue to attend periodic refresher courses and some can choose to progress to the more advanced level.

Level IIa courses are for those who provide advice to professional diving organisations and, in particular, for the medical management of diving accidents and illnesses.  They are for those who should already be specialists of a clinical speciality (or of an equivalent status outside the EU) often in occupational medicine or the military.  The course provides the supplementary training in their own speciality that is needed towards attaining competency in the support of working dives.

IMCA is supportive of this new scheme.  It is stressed, however, that neither DMAC nor IMCA approves individual doctors to undertake diving medicals.  Details on approved educational establishments can be found on the DMAC website at dmac-diving.org.

On the following pages are details on forthcoming courses which have been advised to DMAC.  Members are asked to pass these details on to interested parties.

Please visit the DMAC website for the latest approved training provider information, or download the attached file for as-published text.