Would it be possible for a medical officer to join the Special Forces?

Yokel

LE
I know someone who is in the RNR (and waiting to be made up to LH) and after a number of years of working in another clinical role, she decided having three degrees was not enough so she is now a medical student. She plans to apply for a medical cadetship in her third year, and her previous Reserve experience (including CLM) is likely to help her.

Maybe you can look into this route? I assume the Army and RAF also offer medical cadetships.
 

3CB

Crow
Guys thanks for all the replies its been really helpful
Assuming I get in, would it be better to join the UOTC or the SAS(R) and also does anyone know if this would be compatible with the army cadetship (for medics)?
 
I know someone who is in the RNR (and waiting to be made up to LH) and after a number of years of working in another clinical role, she decided having three degrees was not enough so she is now a medical student. She plans to apply for a medical cadetship in her third year, and her previous Reserve experience (including CLM) is likely to help her.

Maybe you can look into this route? I assume the Army and RAF also offer medical cadetships.
1564435392326.png
She had the three degrees?? The saucy little minx...;)
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Guys thanks for all the replies its been really helpful
Assuming I get in, would it be better to join the UOTC or the SAS(R) and also does anyone know if this would be compatible with the army cadetship (for medics)?
I know my experience was years ago, but I did my cadetship entirely independent of the UOTC. I saw no point in doing both.
UOTC is far more general military based and quite different in many ways from the role of the RMO.
 
One point about Medical Officers and UKSF, as pointed out in this thread, is the Armed Forces perhaps understandable reluctance to dangle high-value, highly paid & highly qualified individuals precariously on embassy balconies whilst currently under siege.

That said, I know of a qualified surgeon serving in the RNR as an AB because he wanted to do something completely unrelated to medicine. Funnily enough, he was required to do a first aid course, too. The concept of a non-commissioned Doctor caused a few raised eyebrows, but it happened. Similarly a few years back there was a professor of physics employed at CERN who went ashore at the al-Faw Peninsula, employed part-time as a GD RMR Other Rank in 2003.

A familiar path trodden by a few individuals in the early years of Med School is to join the RMR as an Other Rank recruit to gain the transferable commando qualification prior to joining the relevant regular service as a Medical Officer.

It is not beyond the bounds of feasibility that the said reserve force trained rank undergrads could not then undergo UKSF(R) Other Rank selection, prior to joining the regular service as a surgeon with adquals that would be attractive to DSF with regard employability.

SBS(R) recruit from trained ranks, regular or reserve, from all services. More here: SBS (R)

SAS(R), as I understand, recruit directly, regardless of relevant prior military experience.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Last edited:
Guys thanks for all the replies its been really helpful
Assuming I get in, would it be better to join the UOTC or the SAS(R) and also does anyone know if this would be compatible with the army cadetship (for medics)?
If you apply for SAS(R) and attempt Selection, you will NOT be allowed to miss a single weekend. And you'll be sent away if you turn up wearing a pink shirt ( :) )

Go UOTC, its designed to fit around your studies.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
ISTR that Arrse went round this particular lighthouse about ten years ago.

Your role would be that of a medic. Short of your unit being overrun, any commander choosing to use someone with your expertise as anything other than a medic would merit burning, as would you if you preferred to pull a trigger and let less qualified people try to save the lives of your comrades.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
ISTR that Arrse went round this particular lighthouse about ten years ago.

Your role would be that of a medic. Short of your unit being overrun, any commander choosing to use someone with your expertise as anything other than a medic would merit burning, as would you if you preferred to pull a trigger and let less qualified people try to save the lives of your comrades.
You can also factor in that the PQO course is not designed to make you the tactical geniuses that the full course.
 
As an aside to the OP, once you’ve qualified you can become a PQO and - as discussed - seek to become attached to a variety of units.

If you’re willing to do things a bit more ad hoc you can have an absolute blast.

A friend of mine had a first career in the City and subsequently retrained as a Doctor. On the back of his experience as a HAC Patrols Trooper and part of SAS(R) selection (he jacked it - probably lack of time rather than ability ) and ended up doing a fair amount with the SAS(R).

His experience is that a qualified Reserve Doctor with a track record of being fit & reasonably warry has to beat cool jobs off with the proverbial dirty stick. Exotic AT trips, expeditions, obscure foreign operations, gap filling regular posts and - yes - attachment to sexy units are all on offer.

This is all super fcking cool, as long as you’re happy to plug the gaps with civvy locum work and the like. It’s a single young mans dream.

Trouble is that a middle aged fathers dream is becoming a consultant, enjoying the professional respect of your peers, keeping your wife happy, seeing the kids, accumulating a nice fat NHS pension and doing lucrative private work on the side.

Getting on that path starts really early. Medicine starts competitive to get into university, stays competitive during your course, becomes more competitive as you specialise and stays competitive for a long time.

The Army is not the only organisation with a restrictive career machine and little concern for the preferences of its most highly skilled members. The NHS really does rival APC Glasgow for obduracy.

My point is that you stand to sacrifice a lot if you to try to ride two horses. Abseiling into a compound to shoot a baddie in the face, or hanging around with blades in a FOB sounds cool but ( just IMO ) you’d be foolish to sacrifice - even a little - a medical career ( military or civil ) for some short lived glamour.

Join the OTC if you can and find out whether you like dressing like a bush, carrying heavy rucksacks and wet welsh hillsides.

If the Army becomes a bug you just can’t shake off and you want to combine action & medicine to its fullest potential then great. You will have stacks of fun and adventures. However you will also need to acknowledge that your medical career is likely to be unconventional even if it’s still successful and fulfilling.
 

3CB

Crow
As an aside to the OP, once you’ve qualified you can become a PQO and - as discussed - seek to become attached to a variety of units.

If you’re willing to do things a bit more ad hoc you can have an absolute blast.

A friend of mine had a first career in the City and subsequently retrained as a Doctor. On the back of his experience as a HAC Patrols Trooper and part of SAS(R) selection (he jacked it - probably lack of time rather than ability ) and ended up doing a fair amount with the SAS(R).

His experience is that a qualified Reserve Doctor with a track record of being fit & reasonably warry has to beat cool jobs off with the proverbial dirty stick. Exotic AT trips, expeditions, obscure foreign operations, gap filling regular posts and - yes - attachment to sexy units are all on offer.

This is all super fcking cool, as long as you’re happy to plug the gaps with civvy locum work and the like. It’s a single young mans dream.

Trouble is that a middle aged fathers dream is becoming a consultant, enjoying the professional respect of your peers, keeping your wife happy, seeing the kids, accumulating a nice fat NHS pension and doing lucrative private work on the side.

Getting on that path starts really early. Medicine starts competitive to get into university, stays competitive during your course, becomes more competitive as you specialise and stays competitive for a long time.

The Army is not the only organisation with a restrictive career machine and little concern for the preferences of its most highly skilled members. The NHS really does rival APC Glasgow for obduracy.

My point is that you stand to sacrifice a lot if you to try to ride two horses. Abseiling into a compound to shoot a baddie in the face, or hanging around with blades in a FOB sounds cool but ( just IMO ) you’d be foolish to sacrifice - even a little - a medical career ( military or civil ) for some short lived glamour.

Join the OTC if you can and find out whether you like dressing like a bush, carrying heavy rucksacks and wet welsh hillsides.

If the Army becomes a bug you just can’t shake off and you want to combine action & medicine to its fullest potential then great. You will have stacks of fun and adventures. However you will also need to acknowledge that your medical career is likely to be unconventional even if it’s still successful and fulfilling.
Ok many thanks for the reply
It was really helpful
 

Stickface1

Swinger
Hi Ive just finished college and will be going to uni for medicine this fall IA
I was just exploring the pathway of becoming a medical officer in the armed forces and therefore was wondering if a medical officer could join the special forces.
Many Thanks :)
Have a look at a guy called Richard Villar who wrote "Knife Edge: Life as a Special Forces Surgeon". This is quite literally an entire book on the job of the SAS Regimental Medical Officer and will probably contain answers to all your questions on it.
Bit of back story, he joined 21 SAS during med school and somehow managed life between elite soldier and hard-working med student and then got the job as SAS RMO after some years in RAMC where he pretty much did anything medical for the SAS. Hearts and minds in the jungle and desert; GP at Hereford base; training patrol medics and making sure no one died during selection, for a few examples.
This is back in the 70s/80s so it may have changed since but back then you didn't have to take selection, although, it is supposedly one of the most competitive jobs for a doctor in the army so I guess it has some advantage.
Unfortunately, joining any of the army reserves is not compatible with the Medical cadetship so you've got to make the choice between about 75 grand in total or 5/6 years of military experience. Important to bear in mind that with the latter you're down by 75 grand and probably continually exhausted for 5/6 years straight trying to manage the reserves with med school but with the cadetship, there is always the UOTC to go along with the money.

Hope this helps if you're still interested by now or to anyone reading the thread in future. P.S I'm a year behind where you're at and following the same route so I guess I'll see you in the pits for the job in some 8 odd years time!
 
There is now a UKSF Selection for Medics, which is the old 18 Sigs Selection in old money.
 

Stickface1

Swinger
There is now a UKSF Selection for Medics, which is the old 18 Sigs Selection in old money.
Do you know what this selection is called? There is rumour online about a 'Black Serpent' selection course but this is for combat medics so does not apply to medical officers (qualified doctors) I assume.
 
It doesn't have a name.

Once you've joined, you'll be able to apply.
 
If you are going to Uni inn the "fall", one must assume that you probably not British, unless of course you moved overseas when young but kept your UK passport. This may hamper you !
My first thoughts .
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top