Medical Support Officer

So I'm considering joining up and have a degree.

MSO sounds like something that may appeal to me but- the information given on the website is a bit vague. What do medical support officers actually do day-to-day? Where are they based? I hear it's less competitive than some other roles (which is fine) is this true? What are the promotion prospects like etc etc? Anyone actually do this job or know someone that does?




In essence MSOs are the military equivalent of NHS administrators: they run around trying to impose some order on the chaos created by the medical professionals and, additionally, do whatever military stuff needs doing within medical units. From a warry-ness point of view, it ranks at about the same level as being Liberace's crochet instructor and is consequently not generally oversubscribed amongst first choices at regimental selection time at RMAS, but I would imagine that it could be a good stepping stone to a number of civilian careers.
What cpunk said, additionally:

It is not particularly competitive (either getting a place or promotion). There are also quite a few MSOs who have transferred into the AMS from elsewhere, including quite a few LE officers. What this means is that if you join from Sandhurst and are half good, you should have a decent crack at regimental command, even if you don't really compete with your peers from across the army.

As cpunk said, not a particularly warry job, but vital none the less. If you fancy this sort of thing and don't want the pressure of having to compete against your peers, all of the time, for promotion; I'd suggest you go for it.
Thanks for the advice!

What kind of military stuff will need doing in this kind of role? Any idea what the chance of getting stationed interesting places (Germany etc.) is?

Is it less popular simply because it's a role that's not especially combat orientated in a the army,which obviously attracts fewer people keen on that, or are their some huge downsides?
Also- if it's not particularly competitive, how long could it take for someone that is pretty good to get promoted to Captain?
Also- if it's not particularly competitive, how long could it take for someone that is pretty good to get promoted to Captain?

The same as everyone else.

Promotion to Captain is length-of service based. Assuming your OJARs don't reveal you to be a complete chimp, and you can pass Mk1/JOTAC, you should promote around the same time as your muckers from RMAS.
The same as everyone else.

Promotion to Captain is length-of service based. Even if your OJARs reveal you to be a complete chimp, and you can pass Mk1/JOTAC, you will promote at exactly the same time as your muckers from RMAS.

There, fixed that for you.

As G-B said, promotion to Capt is length of service based (unless you really are utterly, utterly terrible). Promotion to Maj is competitive and by virtue of the AMS being less competitive, you should have a better opportunity of reaching it on your first look (first opportunity to promote). Likewise promoteion to Lt Col; beyond that, you start to compete against officers from other branches and you are likely to do rather less well from here on.


Skip, I am an MSO. Most of the above is true. In answer to what you do day to day:

- In barracks; the same as every other young officer- organise exercises and training, write SJARs, sort out endless soldier dramas, count bits of kit, get boozed in the mess etc

- On Ops. If you are a junior Troop commander then probably get jiffed with 'watchkeeping' in an Ops Room in bastion = boring. If you are a bit more senior or can prove you are switched on then you will get a Med LO (liasion officer) job with one of the battle groups. I did this and it was a good job - basically sit in BG HQ doing medical planning with ops planning group, organising medics for the BG, overseeing unit aid post etc. Interesting and gets you involved in BG planning at a much earlier point than other arms and services (downside is that everyone around the table is senior to you, so you need to be able to hold your own).

Long term prospects - internal promotion; decent. Next CGS? erm, no.

Overall its a good job and probably not dissimilar to other Corps on a day to day basis, just needs a bit of an image overhaul from RMAS where it gets a bad rep!
Hi Big M,

I'm considering commissioning as an MSO- I have a familiarisation visit booked with the RAMC in March next year and so in the meantime am curious to know a bit more about the role itself.

One of the many things I'm interested in are the opportunities to undertake further qualifications in service- do you find that there are ample opportunities to do this as an MSO?

Furthermore, my academic background is in law, and I'm wondering how often, if at all, you find yourself coming across any areas of international humanitarian law or anything in that area?

Another thing I've been wondering about is the possibility of deployment with this kind of role. Do most MSO's find themselves deployed abroad in places such as Germany/Afghanistan?

Sorry if some of these questions seem a bit silly- besides 3 familiarisation visits and an AOSB briefing I have little in the way of military experience/knowledge. Just thought I'd do some research.

I'd be very grateful for any info you can offer me.

Best Wishes,

In short: one of the less glamorous jobs going. Advantage: unless you are really a total biff, promotion to Lt Col is pretty much a shoe-in. You are swimming in quite a small pool without a lot of competition. Infantry etc have to scrap hard to get to that level: they are swimming with the sharks. Disadvantage: your fellow officers are mostly doctors etc who will not take you terribly seriously, and will hold you in, at best, benign contempt.

FWIW, I served alongside two MSOs while co-ordinating multiple casevacs in HQ TFH. One was possibly the most limp, useless and ineffectual officer in the entire British Army. The other (ex-WO1 medic) was quite outstanding.
I would imagine that under the current pension scheme it is an attractive option as one would come out at 44 with a LtCol's pension plus an MBA and an ACCA or CMA qualification and you would have little difficulty finding a well paid job in the NHS to supplement your pension.

However, the proposed changes to the pension scheme must make it a much less attractive option.

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