Non-GPs such as chiropractors, opticians and midwives can submit fitness-to-drive medical evidence to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) from today, under new legislation.
Until now, only doctors registered with the GMC could give evidence to the DVLA to help with decisions on whether an individual with a medical condition is fit to drive.
But from today, the law has changed to enable more healthcare professionals to complete DVLA medical questionnaires ‘on behalf of doctors’, the DVLA announced.
It said that the measure is ‘part of an approach by DVLA to speed up elements of the medical licencing process while reducing the burden on doctors to complete DVLA medical questionnaires’.
The amendment to the Road Traffic Act 1988 coming into force today means GPs are now allowed to ‘refer medical questionnaires to colleagues such as specialist nurses and opticians from other professional bodies’, it added.
However, the DVLA will continue to send questionnaires to GPs and consultants and it will ‘then be up to individual GP practices and hospital teams as to which healthcare professional in practice is best placed to complete the questionnaire’, it said.
This forms phase one of the planned changes, but in phase two, patients will contact the more relevant health professional directly – and not their GP – for them to give evidence to the DVLA.
There is ‘no requirement’ for GP practices to make changes to their current processes due to the change in legislation, the DVLA said.
Medical professionals from the following councils can now complete the medical questionnaires following notification of a medical condition that may affect an individual’s driving:
- General Medical Council
- General Chiropractic Council
- The General Optical Council
- The General Osteopathic Council
- The Nursing and Midwifery Council
- Health and Care Professions Council
The change to the law does not apply to the D4 Medical Examination Report, which must still be completed by a doctor or consultant registered with the GMC, the DVLA said.
Roads minister Baroness Vere said: ‘Obtaining or renewing a driving licence should always be a quick, simple and efficient process.
‘That’s why we’re allowing more healthcare professionals to complete DVLA medical questionnaires to speed up the medical licensing process and ease the burden on GPs.’
DVLA chief executive Julie Lennard added that this comes as the DVLA is receiving ‘an increasing number’ of medical licensing applications from drivers every year.
The update is the result of ‘extensive work’ including a public consultation that saw 82% of respondents in favour of the change, the DVLA said.
All drivers must meet the medical standards for fitness to drive by law.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee green-lighted proposals for the legislative change last month.