MCA U-Turn Over Costly Boatmen Medical Testing

St Mary's Health Centre

The Isles of Scilly Health Centre

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency says they will alter their procedures for boatmen’s medical exams following islanders’ concerns.

Their change of heart could save the islands’’ boatmen thousands of pounds each year.

Maritime Officer Steve Watt says anyone skippering a larger boat carrying over 12 passengers requires an ENG1 medical test.

But since Dr Hessing retired earlier this year, nobody at the Health Centre has been authorised to test boatmen.

Currently boatmen need to make a costly mainland trip every two years, or annually for those over 60, to see one of just five doctors with accreditation in Cornwall.

22 skippers fall into this category in Scilly, says Steve.

Skippers of smaller boats need a less rigorous medical, which can still be performed locally.

On Monday, Lead GP John Garman told us that he was keen for one of our doctors to be authorised to perform ENG1 tests. But the MCA wouldn’t allow it as they only issue a certain number of licences and there wasn’t available for Scilly.

Steve Watt has been negotiating with the MCA on behalf of boatmen, and yesterday they told Radio Scilly that they had listened to locals’ concerns and they are now trying to appoint to a doctor to test in Scilly.

John Garman says it is great news that the MCA is now making that provision.