You may have found that up to now, you’ve been processed pretty quickly. Time seems to fly between applying and getting to here. However, this is where it can really start to slow down if you’re unlucky.
The medical is not done by the RAF or RAF medics or anything like that. It is done by a civilian company who go by the name of Capita. Capita are not based in every single town so be prepared to travel to your closest city or larger town.
A quick search online about RAF medicals may fill you with dread. There are plenty of horror stories going around but be advised, this is the internet, and people often let personal emotions rule their thoughts and therefore most of these horror stories are exaggerated.
In short, the medical is very thorough. It has to be. The RAF will be spending thousands to train you, and they can’t have people who aren’t medically fit. The problem is, for one reason or another, Capita like to find reasons to class people as Temporarily Medically Unfit. If you’ve broken a bone in the last 12 months, expect a delay while they check your hospital/medical notes. If you’ve ever had asthma put on your medical records (even if you don’t currently or have ever had it), again, expect delays.
I’ve heard of some people spending months and months at the medical stage trying to get it sorted. The good news is, it almost always gets sorted in the end. So if you have any kind of trouble, stick with it. The same advice I gave for the AST applies here, be persistent and be determined. The medical is largely out of your control but if they’re making you wait around, make sure you contact them regularly to find out what’s going on if you don’t already know.
Ok so moving on to what actually happens at the medical…
- You will give a urine sample
- You will have your blood pressure taken
- You will go through your medical history. A long list of illnesses/conditions are read out and you simply answer yes/no to whether you have ever had or currently have them or any symptoms. Do not lie about any of this stuff, if you do and they find out later on in the process, you may find your application being discontinued.
- Eyesight test, which includes a long distance and short distance eyesight test a long with a quick test to check for colour blindness.
- Hearing test, which involves having some rather uncomfortable headphones on and clicking a button when you hear a frequency.
- Physical exam (in underwear) which includes a variety of weird and wonderful ‘walks’ across the room. Walking on your tip toes, heels, outside of your feet and in a squat position (yes, it looks as ridiculous as it sounds) are included in this. Also you will be asked to do 3 press-ups. All of this is to ensure your joints and muscles are performing correctly.
- Height and weight measurements to check BMI (this will be conducted once you are in your underwear). Chest and waist measurements are also taken.
- Your stomach will be poked as you lie on a bed and you’ll be asked to cough whilst this is happening (I’m not too sure why, but go with it) and they will also listen to your chest with the stethoscope which is to check that you do actually have a heart. That was a joke. Pretty sure it’s to check that you don’t have a heart murmur or an irregular heartbeat (that’s what I was told anyway).
I’m fairly sure that this covers everything as I remember it. But I’ll continue to add to this if I manage to think of anything else.
The medical is pretty straight forward if you don’t have much or anything on your medical records but if you have, however, then expect delays!