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Frequently Asked Questions for AOCs

HOW IT WORKS

What does the training of a peer consist of?


Peers are trained in essential mental health and counselling skills. They are trained how best to support a colleague in a time of need and the role, responsibilities and boundaries of a PSP peer.




What about cabin crew, engineers, and other safety critical staff?


While the regulations are specifically aimed at pilots for now, EASA makes it clear that this does not exclude those AOCs who would like to provide a PSP to other safety critical staff (e.g. cabin crew; engineers). Whilst the CAP PSP has been designed with pilots in mind for now, it is certainly our intention to broaden this programmes out to wider staff groups. Please let us know if you would like to include your cabin crew, engineers, and safety critical staff in future developments of this programme.




Is this an emergency (or 24/7) service?


This is not a time or safety critical emergency service. (In these instances, it is best to call the emergency services and company authorities appropriate to the emergency.) The way this PSP is managed, pilots can request support within 12, 24 or 48hrs, indicating their level of urgency. They can also request that support in their home language, depending on its availability within the peer community. We will always respond to the request as quickly as possible and typically well within the time frame requested.




Is this service really confidential? What if there is a threat to safety?


Yes, confidentiality is the central pillar to this programme. Without it, this PSP will not work. However, as in every other professional setting, the only time it will be waived is if there is an indication that the pilot or the public's safety is in jeopardy. In this very rare instance, an established protocol will be followed in managing this appropriately and ensuring the response is proportionate to the level of risk posed.




Why is access to the PSP via the web and not a telephone number?


Once a pilot has plucked up the courage to ask for help and request a peer, we want the first human contact they have with our service to be a good and welcoming experience. That means no routing through call handlers or unanswered ringing. The first person they speak to will be their trained peer ready to talk to them. More recently, we have found that most people first turn to the internet before asking for help from anyone - peer or professional. We want the CAP PSP website to be the place that pilots turn to first in their time of need. By visiting the website it becomes clear to them what the CAP PSP is - and what it isn't. They will know what to expect and how to access the service and indicate their level of urgency and language preference. Apart from entering their contact details, no further information is required. This way the pilot remains in control and we can ensure that the first person they speak to is the peer, ready and able to support them. (On a practical level, access via a website also ensures that we use our peers in the most efficient way possible, removing the requirement for a roster).




Is the contact with the peer a one-off call or is the support ongoing?


This depends on the needs of the case. In some instances a single call is sufficient, and in others ongoing support is called for. In this case the peer will stay attached to the pilot they initially spoke to.




How do you know if the pilot is an employee of a subscribing AOC?


Each joining AOC supplies us with the names of their pilots, updated every six months. At the end of the first call with each pilot, the peer will ask them for their name and company. The peer will enter this into our secure data base and we will confirm the pilots individual membership of the AOC. While we will never turn a pilot away, we will monitor instances of non-registered pilots. We will then recheck the full list of pilots registered to the AOC in question (whilst preserving the pilots confidentiality). In rare instances in which a pilot may wish to withhold their name and company, we will treat this on a case-by-case basis and may choose to carry on supporting them or withdraw the service.




What feedback will the AOCs receive about the usage of this service?


We will share trend (never individual) data with all member AOCs. Where possible, we will report usage relating to their pilots. However, we will only do so if we can protect the confidentiality of the users.




Can pilots request peers specifically, or specifically not, from their company?


Yes, pilots will be able to make this request.




How often will this service be used?


Like any culture change, it may take some time for pilots to feel emboldened to ask for help from this (or any service) relating to mental well being. Consequently, it is difficult to predict how much this service will be utilised in the first year or two. However, looking at our more established PSPs and those that have been running for several years, it seems that the level of utilisation ranges from between 5%-25%, depending on how it is configured and the actual service on offer.




Can we use this service for addiction and substance misuse issues?


As this is a service of pilots supporting pilots, it is there to support colleagues, whatever their challenge. However, given the safety implications and specialist treatment required for addiction and substance misuse, the CAP PSP can only ever support a pilot in conjunction with other treatment interventions. In other words, it can not be considered as a substitute to a HIMS programme or intervention, but rather in support of one.




Does membership duplicate our EAP / other resources we have for pilots?


We see PSPs providing a complimentary (and very cost effective) addition to these existing services. For some pilots they will prefer seeking the assistance of the EAP's trained counsellors and others will prefer the support of a colleague who knows what it is like to be a pilot. (The purpose of PSPs is to provide a pilot access to a community of active peers, like themselves). We see situations where services like these may refer pilots to each other to better serve the pilot's needs. We also see PSPs providing a lower barrier for pilots who are asking for help. In most instances this will be sufficient and in others this will open the path to seeking the professional support and treatment the individual may require.




Does the PSP include treatment for individual pilots?


As this is a peer based service, the ethos is on peers supporting peers in the hour of their need. It does not include or infer treatment or counselling by peers or clinical professionals - and as such we are able to keep the costs significantly lower. (In such instances where pilots might need professional support, peers will assist pilots accessing the necessary and available treatment either through their company or externally).




Can PSPs determine the fitness to fly?


No, as this is a peer driven service, peers (however well trained they are) are not in position to determine fitness to fly, nor is it the role of a PSP. It is important that the PSP is not seen as a parallel management (or pilot association) structure nor as a replacement of Occupational Health or the individual pilot's AME. At all points, peers will encourage pilots to approach their company and/or AME for help and advice or use external resources available to them.





OUR PEERS

Who are the CAP PSP peers?


We are currently recruiting peers to join our CAP PSP team. They will be paid volunteers and trained in the first part of 2020. Our aim will be to provide a diverse range of peers from across a variety of operations, countries, languages, and cultures.




What is the role of a trained peer - and how are they supported?


A trained peer is just that: a peer, first and and foremost - who knows what it is like to be a pilot! They are not counsellors, therapists, lawyers, financial advisers or marriage guidance experts. Equally, a peer cannot tell a pilot what to do, make decisions for them or advocate on their behalf. Neither can they decide on their fitness to fly. Their primary role is to provide support to a fellow peer going through a tough time, making it easier to ask for help. If a peer can, they will point them in the right direction and/or simply be there for them, when they need it most. At every point, peers have access to CAP’s expert aviation psychologists for guidance and support.




What does the training of a peer consist of?


Peers are trained in essential mental health and counselling skills. They are trained how best to support a colleague in a time of need and the role, responsibilities and boundaries of a PSP peer.





JOINING

If an AOC wants to join the PSP, what are the next steps?


Joining this PSP is relatively straight forward. Let us know that you are interested and we will arrange a call with you to answer any additional questions that you might have. Once you are satisfied, we will send you our standard terms and conditions.




Do AOCs need an appointed AME or Occupational Health Physician?


Yes, they do. In rare instances of escalation, we need to be able contact the appointed company AME/Occupational Health Physician to discuss the case and take appropriate action. For reasons of confidentiality, we can never discuss a specific case with the company, only via the appointed AME/ Occupational Health Physician.




What are the costs of joining this PSP?


We believe in making our programme both affordable and high value to our customers. Please email us and we will be happy to send you our costing details.




What is the Return on Investment (ROI) or business case for PSPs?


Not surprisingly, we believe there is a very good one! And like all investments in safety and employee well being, it is important to understand the ROI in terms of the value it offers, risk management, the saving of individual careers (and well being) and the associated company and individual costs savings. Established PSPs in larger airlines have been able to demonstrate the significant cost savings to their company in several ways. In addition to being a concerned employer and risk aware operator, the cost savings of retaining and supporting pilots in their hour of need (and avoiding unnecessary future pilot recruitment and training costs to backfill a position) often results in PSPs paying for themselves several times over.




Where can I find further information on PSPs?


As this is a relatively new field we are still learning from each other. An excellent resource regarding the key considerations when considering PSPs can be found from the European Pilot Peer Support Initiative (EPPSI).





GOVERNANCE

What are the governance arrangements in place to run this programme?


The CAP PSP is overseen by the Clinical and Operational Directors of CAP, Prof Rob Bor and Aedrian Bekker. They are both registered clinical psychologists and are considered to be world leaders in this field, operating to highest professional standards of best practice. Along with founding member AOCs, they will form the steering group that shapes, delivers and governs this service. The AOC members of the CAP PSP will get trend data and overall usage of the PSP, although never at an individual case level.




What about Data Protection and Security, and Brexit?


We take data protection very seriously and are compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, we will always ensure that the storage and processing of data is compliant to the requirements of the EU and UK’s relevant data regulations post-Brexit.




How safe and secure are your systems?


We have invested considerably in building a highly secure and dedicated call management and case handling platform. Unless we are mistaken, this is the first of its kind in aviation PSPs and we are proud of its security and functionality.




What is the relationship between the PSP and the AOC?


For user acceptability, it is important the CAP PSP is seen to be independent of the operator. Operators will be provided with trend data on a quarterly or 6 monthly basis and are welcome to contact CAP between these updates to discuss any particular concern. We will not report on individual cases or trend data that would unnecessarily comprise the confidentiality of the PSP users. In the rare cases of escalation relating to a safety concern, it will be imperative that the PSP management team has access to the operator's Flight Operations.