Bites

November 2009

Clinical

Asthma and eligibility for the Australian Defence Force

Volume 38, No.11, November 2009 Pages 897-900

Jodi Bailey

Felicity Williams

Background

Entry to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for candidates with asthma has recently changed.

Objective/s

This article summarises the ADF entry standards for candidates with asthma. It also explains the role of general practitioners in the safe and smooth transition to the military training environment for patients with asthma.

Discussion

Candidates with mild asthma may be considered for entry to the ADF subject to certain criteria which includes normal spirometry and negative bronchial provocation testing. If a candidate with asthma is assessed as fit to enter the ADF, they will need to present to their GP before entry to ensure they are prepared. Assistance from the GP in providing the patient with appropriate Asthma Action Plans, prescriptions, and medications is required to ensure continuity of care during what is often a challenging transition to military life.

Entry to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for candidates with asthma has recently changed. Until mid 2007, any candidate with a history of asthma within the previous 5 years was considered unfit for entry to the military. Based on clinical evidence, medical standards for entry to the ADF were relaxed, allowing some people with mild asthma to enter the ADF under strict guidelines. These guidelines are necessary due to the sometimes arduous and isolated nature of military service. The standards remain unchanged for aircrew, divers, submariners and special forces categories.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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Type

Clinical