Medical and medical support

Medical Support Officer

Medical Support Officers (MSOs) provide essential Health Service Support (HSS) to both the Royal Air Force Medical Services and the wider Defence Medical Services.  MSOs can be employed in any of the healthcare sectors, e.g. Primary or Secondary care.  Equally, you may be in a role that has an overarching authority across several healthcare sectors.  Regardless of role, you will have an understanding of how healthcare services are developed and delivered, at all levels, within both the military and civilian environments.

Within the sectors themselves MSOs, as healthcare professionals, are expected to fulfil a wide variety of HSS functions including: management of operations at a regional level; medical logistics to sustain overseas deployments; development of new medical capabilities and doctrine, as well as the design and delivery of medical training for practitioners and HSS personnel.  While this list is not exhaustive, irrespective of your role you are vital to the safe and effective delivery of healthcare throughout Defence, at home and overseas.

Reflecting other Branches in the RAF, you will be expected to move jobs every few years.  Each of these jobs is known as a ‘tour’.  Most of your tours will be on RAF bases and MoD sites within the UK.  Additionally, there are some emerging opportunities to work overseas as you progress through the ranks.  There are operational roles for MSOs with Medical Operational Force Elements and you can therefore expect to be deployed in the future.

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

RAF Regulars and Reserves work side by side.

Scroll down to explore the opportunities as a Medical Support Officer in the RAF.

Key Facts

Full Time
Regular

Initial pay after training

£30,616 + Benefits

Pay during training

£25,727 + Benefits

Entry level

Officer

Commitment

Usual service

12 years

Spare Time
Reserve

Initial pay after training

Day rates dependent on rank, role and experience

Entry level

Officer

Commitment

27 days per year for 12 years minimum. Each year includes a 15 day block for general RAF training, which is taken over a two week period, and 12 days for additional/trade training, or training exercises.

The possibility of being deployed to a UK or overseas base for up to 6 months after the first year.

Locations

502 Sqn Aldergrove Flying Station, Co Antrim  (Extremely Ltd Vacancies)

600 Sqn RAF Northolt, Middlesex (Extremely Ltd Vacancies)

612 Sqn Leuchars Station, Fife (Extremely Ltd Vacancies)

4626 Sqn RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire (Extremely Ltd Vacancies)

 

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

In the RAF

My Role

‘Really, we are health service managers. We don’t do clinical work, but we make sure support is available to medics, that the equipment they need is available or that they’re meeting clinical guidelines.’

My Day

‘At the moment, my job is to support the Director of General Medical Services. I work with the media if any medical personnel are featured and I’m helping with plans about how we keep our medical services going in case of emergency.

When I was on operations we didn’t just deal with troops; we helped local civilians who’d been injured too. And I’ve had plenty of other opportunities to travel. I’ve done adventurous training in Tanzania where we climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.’

Julie, Medical Support Officer

Training

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

Full Time
Regular

Initial Officer Training

Like all our officers, you will begin your RAF career with Initial Officer Training (IOT) at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire.  You will follow a challenging 24-week course designed to develop your leadership and management skills.  The course includes fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenges. 

You can find out more information about IOT in this publication.

Specialist training

Phase 2 training for the RAF MSO (Mainstream)1 is through completion of the Initial Medical Support Officer Course (IMSOC) during the first year of your first tour as a junior officer. IMSOC is based initially at the Defence College of Healthcare Education and Training near Lichfield, with distributed learning placements at several other units. The course introduces the 5 pillars of the MSO Branch (Operations, Logistics, Training, Primary and Secondary Healthcare Management and Administration); it will provide you with an understanding of healthcare in its widest sense and how health services are provided in a military context.

Over a period of approximately 10 weeks you will be detached to HQ Air Command, HQ Surgeon General and HQ Tactical Medical Wing (TMW). On completion of this course, various Phase 3 training courses will be provided to support your initial postings/roles. Most personnel should expect to complete the Medical Readiness Training course provided by HQ TMW at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. Phase 2 and (initial) Phase 3 training will be completed over an 18-month period and will collectively provide a comprehensive introduction to RAF Medical Services and Defence Medical Services, as well starting to develop the knowledge and skills that you will require to enjoy a successful career as a MSO.

Foundation Tour

As a MSO, your first tour is likely to be at HQ Tactical Medical Wing at RAF Brize Norton, HQ Air Command at RAF High Wycombe, or the Centre of Aviation Medicine, RAF Henlow. This is a chance to learn how the RAF works, and the experience you gain will stand you in good stead for the rest of your career.

Your Career Prospects

You will join the RAF on an Initial Commission of 12 years and, during this time, may be selected to serve on a pension-earning commission of 20 years’ service or age 40, whichever is the later. You will commission as a Flying Officer and you will be promoted to Flight Lieutenant on a time and satisfactory service basis. Further promotion to Squadron Leader and above is by competitive selection.

Ongoing development

As a MSO, you will have extensive opportunities for professional development throughout your career. This development will be incremental in nature and compatible with your performance, experience and aspirations. Most MSOs study for Diploma, Degree and Masters level qualifications. There are also opportunities for leadership and management training. In addition, there is an established mentoring scheme, which provides support and guidance to allow you to develop your competencies. Furthermore, all personnel are encouraged to join a professional body, such as the Institute of Healthcare Management or the Chartered Managers Institute.

Transferable skills

The skills and experience you gain throughout your career as a MSO could equip you for a wide range of civilian jobs in areas such as crisis and emergency services, health service management, local government, disaster and humanitarian relief, healthcare logistics and medical training.

Royal Air Force - Regular & Reserve

Spare Time
Reserve

Reserve Officer Initial Training

After basic training, recruits go on to Reserve Officer Initial Training during their second year. This combines distance learning with residential weekends at the prestigious RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire. It also includes a two-week residential phase at Cranwell where Reserves mix with Regular Officers on their initial training. During this period you will gain the skills and knowledge to command and lead in military roles and beyond. 

Requirements

Full Time
Regular

Job requirements

Qualifications:

You will need a minimum of 5 GCSEs (or acceptable equivalents) at a minimum of Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 from Aug 17) or 5 Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE) Standard Grades at a minimum of Grade 2 or 5 Scottish National Equivalent (SNE) grades at a minimum of Grade 5 (Grades A – C), including English Language and Maths.

In addition, you will need 2 A2 Levels/3 Highers at Grade C or above (excluding General Studies or Critical Thinking), preferably including a science, which must total a minimum of 64 UCAS points.

A relevant degree level qualification or experience of management in Healthcare delivery is also preferred.

Age:

  • 17.6 - 29

RAF Requirements

‘Due to the Royal Air Force transitioning to a new IT system we are currently only able to take registrations for each role. As soon as the new system becomes available you will be contacted with the link to allow you to begin your online application. The move to the new system should not affect those who have already applied and these applicants will continue through the recruiting process. Any issues or concerns should be directed to your local Armed Forces Careers Office (RAF) or Reserve Squadrons.’

To join the RAF you will also need to meet fitness, health, nationality, residency, and other criteria detailed below.

Spare Time
Reserve

Job requirements

Qualifications:

You will need a minimum of 5 GCSEs (or acceptable equivalents) at a minimum of Grade C (Grade 4 to 5 with effect from Aug 17) or 5 Scottish Certificate of Education (SCE) Standard Grades at a minimum of Grade 2 or 5 Scottish National Equivalent (SNE) grades at a minimum of Grade 5, including English Language and Mathematics.

In addition, you need at least 2 A2 Levels/3 Highers at Grade C or above (excluding General Studies or Critical Thinking) which must total a minimum of 160 UCAS points.

Applicants must have a clinical healthcare background or NHS management experience for eligibility. Please note: the RAF does not accept A-levels in Critical Thinking or General Studies at any grade. If uncertain of the relevance of your personal qualifications, contact the Medical Reserves Specialist Team on 01400 266886.

Age:

18 – 54 (Must attest before 55th birthday – Ex Regulars over the age of 55 may be considered on a case by case basis)

RAF Requirements

‘Due to the Royal Air Force transitioning to a new IT system we are currently only able to take registrations for each role. As soon as the new system becomes available you will be contacted with the link to allow you to begin your online application. The move to the new system should not affect those who have already applied and these applicants will continue through the recruiting process. Any issues or concerns should be directed to your local Armed Forces Careers Office (RAF) or Reserve Squadrons.’

To join the RAF you will also need to meet fitness, health, nationality, residency, and other criteria detailed below.

Apply


Full Time
Regular

Spare Time
Reserve