The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced that pilots and air traffic control officers (ATCOs) with diabetes who use medication such as insulin can now be considered for medical certification due to improvements in treatment.
The Authority explains: "Until now, only a limited number of medications for the treatment of diabetes have been allowed for pilots and air traffic controllers applying for Class 1, 2 and 3 medical certificates. [But] there have been advances in the treatment and monitoring of the disease, allowing the control of the condition and any complications to be managed more effectively.
"The decision should allow more licensed pilots and ATCOs who have diabetes to continue to undertake operational duties safely."
The CAA emphasised that individual diabetic applicants will "be subject to a rigorous monitoring regime, including demonstrated stability of their condition, and regular blood sample self-testing during flight/duty. This is to ensure that an individual does not begin a flight or shift with too high, or too low, a sugar level, and that a safe level is maintained."
Guidance will shortly be issued to pilots and ATCOs, the CAA adds, which will set out the new procedures to follow. This includes the application of operational restrictions and in-flight testing regimes.