DVLA warned current medical check rules may have a ‘grave impact on road safety’

Martin Lewis says 2.3 million UK driving licences are out of date

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The British Medical Association said some drivers were “bypassing the queue” at their GP and accessing “third party medical practitioners” to receive sign off for licences. However, it warned drivers may be understating their medical conditions and being given access to the road when they are unsafe.

Dr Peter Holden, BMA Professional Fees Committee chair warns GP’s are the only ones who have access to full medical records which is vital when assessing someone’s ability to drive.

He said: “Across the country, thousands of drivers require medical ‘fit to drive’ sign off in order to obtain or renew their drivers’ licence.

“We know that some of these drivers, aware of the current DVLA backlog, are bypassing the queue at their own GP practice and going to third-party registered medical practitioners.

“The issue here is that only an individual’s GP practices has access to a patient’s full medical record so only they know whether or not that person is fit to drive.

“By seeking ‘sign off’ from an independent practitioner, who only has the patient’s word to go by, there’s a risk that medical conditions may be, either intentionally or unintendedly, understated and this has already had a grave impact on road safety.

“With this in mind, the Government must ensure that there is a process in place to involve an applicant’s GP.

“It is also important that the Government and DVLA are honest with the public regarding just how long this backlog will take to clear so that expectations are managed, and patients do not start making multiple calls to their GP practice while they wait for medical assessments.”

Under current rules, drivers are advised to request fitness to drive assessments from their GP.

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HGV drivers and those applying for a bus licence are required to complete a medical examination form for access to the roads.

The BMA estimates there are more than 200,000 people waiting for medical assessments to renew their licence applications.

However, the BMA warned this figure is growing every month as many more road users now require renewals.

HGV drivers were offered a licence extension earlier in the pandemic which has now come to an end.

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