driving

DVLA recommends GP check before reapplying for a licence

LAW

Drivers reapplying for driving licence after revoked would be required to get GP sign-off first. A letter sent earlier this month to patients by the DVLA required drivers to check with their GP and ensure they satisfy the medical standards for driving. The DVLA previously had simply written to request medical notes from GPs in light of applications instead of sending their patients to their doctor for a medical assessment before applying.

According to the DVLA, the decision was recent and taken on a ‘case-by-case basis’. Certain conditions, according to a spokesman, however, may require a referral letter sent to the patient rather than visiting the GP directly. They stressed that this does not mean the requirements for the patients GP have been altered in any way.

This being the case, the British Medical Association (BMA) plans to complain to the DVLA. The BMA feels that the DVLA is trying to cut their own workload by minimising applications that will be unsuccessful in the long run. The Professional Fees Committee at BMA said the responsibility was not part of the GP and would need to be paid.

Dr Richard Vautrey, the GP Committee Chair at BMA said that the consequences of the decision by the DVLA will increase the workload for GPs.

The Professional Fees Committee Chair at BMA, Dr Peter Holden, explained that the work is subject to a fee since it needs specialist opinion and doesn’t belong to GMS.

Dr Holden predicts that the DVLA will definitely argue that all that is required of the GP is to cross-check their patient’s records. This, nevertheless, is a factual, far from the opinion which takes time and costs, therefore, will still be chargeable.

To clarify on the requirements, the DVLA said that they are not suggesting that the applicant needs any type of assessment by the medical professional rather they are asking the drivers to confirm with the GP that they can meet the medical standards for safe driving. They emphasise that it is a legal requirement that drivers meet the same standards always while driving.

It doesn’t necessarily require the GP to perform an examination to the patient of even have a face-to-face meeting since drivers can decide to contact their GP to confirm that they meet the requirements.

In 2015, the GMC updated guidance pointing out that GPs must report patients to the DVLA who still drive against the medical advice they offer, should such be the case.

According to the guidance, this measure should, nevertheless, be the last option if the patient fails to contact the DVLA or DVA themselves.

Last year Labour MP Harriet Harman caused debate last year by suggesting that GPs should certify if their patients aged over 75 are fit to drive as part of an annual health check.

Drivers wait on the final word on the matter. You will know if you will need a GP sign off before reapplying for driving licence after revoked.