You'll be an RAF Doctor, handling everything from daily general surgeries to out-of-hours medical cover.
Pay after training
21 - 55
Similar civilian jobs
- General practitioner
- Emergency Medicine
- Rehab & Rheumatology
Normally 6 years but can apply for a Medium Commission of 18 years once commissioned
UK citizen or holder of dual UK/other nationality
male or female
Qualifications you need
Full and/or professional GMC Registered. Plus GCSE/SCEs at Grade C/2 or equivalent in English language and maths.
In order to apply for this role, please complete the online CV in addition to your application.
Qualifications you can gain
A wide range of professional qualifications
Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided there for the five years immediately preceding your application.
Medical Officers are the RAF’s doctors. You can join as a General Duties Medical Officer (GDMO) or as a specialist.
You’ll receive postgraduate training in your specialism, as well as training in aviation medicine.
When to join?
You must be able to join before your 55th birthday if you are already qualified or, if you require professional training, before your 46th birthday (for general practice) or before your 42nd birthday (for specialists).
Download our Medical Officer Brochure (Link opens in a new window)
I do this job
'The best things about the RAF are the sense of community, the opportunity to work with people of different nationalities and the opportunities to progress your career.'
What’s the worst bit of your job?
What are the three best things about the RAF?
The sense of community, the opportunity to work with people of different nationalities and the opportunities to progress your career.
What are the three worst things about the RAF?
The potential to be in danger and to lose your colleagues. The awful hours.
What was your favourite subject in school?
What did you want to be when you were 16?
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever had?
?Whatever you do, go in with your eyes open and research it first.
‘I really enjoy the fact that, as an RAF Medical Officer, I get exactly the same training opportunities – if not better – than I would as a civilian.’
‘I joined the RAF after studying medicine at Cambridge University. Now I’m doing my surgical training at the Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit (MDHU) within Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust. The MDHU is totally integrated into the hospital and we work alongside NHS staff with both NHS and military patients.’
‘At the moment I'm working in urology. I spend a lot of time in day surgery learning how to do minor operations like circumcisions and vasectomies. I also get some time in theatre with larger operations, such as nephrectomies, and in outpatient clinics. After this, I'll be working in colorectal surgery.’
‘All Medical Officers do their first tour of duty in primary care. I was posted to RAF Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire – which is a training base for fast-jet pilots – to work in the medical centre. My patients were predominantly very young and fit and a large part of the job was ensuring that the aircrew were fit to fly.
‘In the five years since I joined the RAF, I’ve done my ATLS (advanced trauma life support), ALS (advanced life support), basic surgical skills and RCS (Royal College of Surgeons) Parts 1 and 2. But I also get all the added extras, like military training and aviation medicine. I’ve had a great time out of it so far, I’d advise anyone to do the same’
‘Officer training was great fun. It was quite nice to be able to forget that you were a doctor and just get to play around in the mud with a gun for a while. Although there really is endless amounts of ironing to be done! I’m looking forward to being deployed in the future. It’s what I’ve trained for, after all.’
‘My job is very enjoyable, I have a great deal of support and I never stop learning.’
‘Being a GP in the RAF is different to civilian general practice. I can devote more time to patients and they are seen on the same day as they make their appointments, so that makes them happy with the service.
‘Working with aircraft and aircrew was always something that appealed to me, and I was well prepared for my Initial Officer Training as I’d been a member of the University of Wales Air Squadron when I was studying.’
‘Here at RAF Kinloss, I have responsibility for providing primary healthcare to all Service personnel; that can range from daily sick parades to out-of-hours medical cover. The Nimrod aircraft here are on call 24 hours a day and I’m actively encouraged to fly in them to get first-hand experience.
‘I also have responsibility for occupational health screening to ensure that all Service personnel are fit. However, I have to remember that I’m an officer first and a doctor second.’
‘I’ve been fortunate enough to have medical training that I believe to be second to none. My Initial Medical Officers’ Course introduced me to important aspects of aviation medicine, such as assessing pilots for specific occupational needs. After that I went to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire as a General Duties Medical Officer (GDMO).
‘Later I spent 18 months working in an RAF hospital, before doing my General Practice Vocational Training at RAF Wittering near Peterborough. Our role there was to look after all Service personnel and their families.’
‘When I was detached to Kosovo, I worked at the deployed operating base medical centre as one of two doctors in a team of 15 people. We were tasked with looking after the primary healthcare needs of the entire British contingent and all the refugees returning to their homeland after the war. There was a real sense of professionalism – everybody had a common goal and I felt proud to be involved. It was a great life experience.’
Initial Officer Training
Like all our Specialist Branch officers, you’ll begin your RAF career on the Specialist Entrant and Re-entrant (SERE) course at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire.
You’ll undertake an 11 week course specially designed for professionally-qualified entrants to the RAF.
The course includes fitness development, military training, weapons handling and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges.
After SERE, you’ll complete a two-week Basic Air Warfare Course at RAF Cranwell.
After a short period of well-earned leave, you will then go to the Defence Medical Services Training Centre at Keogh Barracks in Hampshire, for a three-week course where you’ll learn about the delivery of medical care in the RAF.
This is followed by a further two-week course at the Centre for Aviation Medicine at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire.
Here you’ll learn about the effects of illness and medication on the ability of our staff to work onboard aircraft.
The course also includes elements of occupational medicine.
Your first tour
For your first tour, you will be posted to a Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit within an NHS hospital. You could work within a team of military ODPs, preparing and maintaining the operating theatre and providing support in the recovery room.
As a military ODP, you will have extensive opportunities for further professional development throughout your career, including the opportunity after 3 years post qualification to apply for the Advanced Scrub Practitioner Course to allow you to become a surgical assistant and other postgraduate qualifications.
The RAF offers a structured career path that mirrors the challenges and responsibilities of a civilian medical career.
Once fully registered, you’ll join the RAF as a flight lieutenant or squadron leader, depending on your qualifications and experience. Initially, you will be offered a Short Commission, normally of six years, but once commissioned you may apply for a Medium Commission of 18 years.
From entry as a flight lieutenant, you’ll be promoted to squadron leader within five years’ satisfactory service. Promotion to wing commander and above is by competitive selection.
Your commission may be extended until you reach the age of 58, or even 60, subject to requirements and your medical fitness.
Pay is competitive with your peers in the NHS and there is a non-contributory Armed Forces Pension Scheme.
As a Medical Officer in the RAF, you’ll have all the promotion and development opportunities of your civilian counterparts, together with the chance to work around the world and gain unique medical experiences. This will greatly improve your prospects if you decide to eventually leave the RAF.
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