RAF Medical Services

Last updated

Royal Air Force Medical Services
Active1 April 1918 - Present
(following amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS))
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Allegiance HM The Queen
BranchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg  Royal Air Force
Role Medicine
Part of Headquarters Air Command
Head of Royal Air Force Medical Services Air Commodore Maria Byford
RAF Ensign Ensign of the Royal Air Force.svg
Red Cross Emblem Flag of the Red Cross.svg

The Royal Air Force Medical Services is the branch of the Royal Air Force that provides health care at home and on deployed operations to RAF service personnel. Medical officers are the doctors of the RAF and have specialist expertise in aviation medicine to support aircrew and their protective equipment. Medical officers also carry out Aeromedical evacuations, providing vital assistance on search-and-rescue missions or emergency relief flights worldwide.


The Royal Air Force Medical Services employs servicemen and servicewomen trained only by the RAF, as well as professionals trained by the NHS such as doctors and nurses.

Both officers and aircrew are present within the Medical Services. Roles requiring specialist degrees such as Medical Officers (Doctors), Nursing Officers, and Dental Officers (Dentists), as well as roles not requiring specialists degrees such as Medical Support Officers, are all commissioned, with most (except general Medical Support Officers) attending a 13 Week SERE (specialist entrant and re-entrant) Initial Officer Training commissioning course. General Medical Support Officers are required to attend the regular format, 24 week IOT commissioning course. For all roles further training occurs as necessary following the relevant IOT course.

Medical Service aircrew are required to attend a 10 week recruit basic training course, after which they receive further training within their role.

List of Director-Generals

The head of the medical branch has been titled "Head of the Royal Air Force Medical Services" since 2013. The appointment was previously known as "Director of Medical Services" (1918–1938) and "Director-General Medical of Services (RAF)" (1938–2013).

Directors of Medical Services

Directors-General of Medical Services (RAF)

Head of Royal Air Force Medical Services

See also

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