Changes to DVLA medical certification
The government has implemented more changes to medical certification processes, with DVLA medical questionnaires now able to be certified by a broad range of healthcare professionals.
The changes, which became effective on the 20th July, enable healthcare professionals other than doctors to complete DVLA medical questionnaires. This is relevant for employers if they are notified of a medical condition which may affect an individual’s driving.
What does my business have to do?
Driving is the most dangerous work activity that most people
do, and it contributes to far more work-related accidental deaths and serious
injuries than all other work activities.
Health & Safety laws apply to on-the-road work
activities and the risks should be effectively managed within a health and
safety system. That means you need to conduct risk assessments as a minimum
step. If you find any risks, you then need to take steps to control them. There
are specific laws for those who drive heavy goods vehicles and passenger
Employers have a duty to ensure that staff are fit for work,
including driving, and where necessary to arrange for periodic health
surveillance (which can be just a questionnaire, depending upon the risks).
Drivers are also responsible for ensuring that they do not
drive when they are not fit to do so, and that they report any condition that affects their ability to drive safely to their employer, and if necessary
to the DVLA.
What has changed?
The Amendment to the Road Traffic Act 1988 means that doctors can now ask nurses or opticians to complete DVLA questionnaires about a patient’s condition. Historically, only doctors registered with General Medical Council (GMC) could complete the questionnaires.
Other healthcare practitioners are often involved in managing a condition which could affect someone’s ability to drive. They can now complete the medical forms for the DVLA. The aim is to speed-up the processing of certification of fitness to drive.
From now, the DVLA will continue to send questionnaires to a doctor or treating consultant. However, the GP or consultant will then be allowed to decide which professional is best placed to complete the questionnaire.
Who can now complete DVLA medical questionnaires?
As well as GMC registered doctors, practitioners registered with the following professional associations can now complete the questionnaires too:
- General Chiropractic Council
- General Optical Council
- General Osteopathic Council
- Nursing and Midwifery Council
- Health and Care Professions Council
What about bus or lorry drivers?
The changes do not apply to “D4” medical examination reports for lorry or bus drivers, which will still need to be completed by a doctor.
Bus and lorry driver medicals have two components (a vision assessment and a medical assessment) and although some doctors can assess both elements, which is common in occupational medicine, many employers still seek the support of an optician or optometrist.
The changes come just weeks after a broader range of healthcare practitioners became able to complete fit notes. Follow the links to read more about D4 medical certification or more about the DVLA questionnaire changes.