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!


104 thoughts on “Medical

  1. Thanks Ryan
    The person who carried out his initial test and interview has told him to take the medical NOT stop the application yet. Fingers crossed for him. Got medical in a fortnight.

  2. Thanks so much for all these writeups my friend, they have been very useful. Maybe you can help with something, I was declared TMU till I can get confirmation that my allergies as a child and early teen have definitely faded. The doctor told me to get a referral from my GP to see a doctor at my local allergy clinic. So I did that around 4 weeks ago, and now I’m on a waiting list. I recently checked with the hospital receptionist and she told me there could still be a wait of up to 10 weeks on a worst case scenario… Now this wouldn’t be so bad but the RAF have only given me 3 months before cancelling my application, I’ve worked quite hard to get to this stage, anything I could do to extend this period? I’m looking to call my AFCO tomorrow to see if they could help.

    • Hi Kay,

      Hopefully you called the AFCO and got some good advice and the resolution you were hoping for?

      I know it’s a pain, especially with medical issues and it can take a while to get everything sorted. Be persistent and don’t give up.

      FIngers crossed!

  3. Hi Ryan
    Unfortunately it’s a no no!
    They carried on with the rest of the medical and that was fine.
    But Previous history of Kidney stone stopped the application.
    He’s unhappy but accepts the result.
    Thanks for your input

  4. Hi Ryan,

    I’m current awaiting my start dates, but I’ve seen that the eyesight limits for entry are a lens correction strength no greater than -6 or +6 diopetres. My eyes are -6 and -5.75 which meant I passed the medical; however they are obviously going to deteriorate in the future. Once they pass this -6 threshold once serving, will I have a bit of a problem?

    Kind regards


    • Hi Tommy,

      I understand it must be a concern, however I’ve been in the RAF for over 3 years now and have not been required to undergo an eye test in my current role. There is always a chance this may change but once you are in and the RAF has spent a lot of money training you, they are less likely to just kick you out and may give you some other options. Bottom line – if you’re in, I’m fairly confident you will be okay. Always worth double checking though!

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