Road safety threatened by motorists using an escape route to be declared fit to drive, doctors warn Business News

Truck drivers using private companies to certify them as fit to drive could have a “serious impact on road safety,” the British Medical Association has warned.

The BMA wrote to the Ministry of Transport to say that drivers are increasingly using private providers to sign “fit to drive” medical exams due to a massive backlog with GPs.

General practitioners normally carry out checks, which are compulsory for new applicants for heavy vehicle licenses and must be renewed every five years by truck drivers over the age of 45.

Motorists driving ordinary vehicles have a responsibility to inform the DVLA of any condition that may affect their driving, but do not need a medical examination. Checks have been designated as lower priority for general practitioners during the pandemic.

The BMA said the rules need to be tightened so that only a driver’s GP can sign the checks, as they have access to the applicant’s full medical file.

Drivers can underestimate their health and be allowed to drive when they shouldn’t be, the BMA said.

Dr Peter Holden, Chairman of the Professional Fees Committee of the BMA, said: “Thousands of drivers across the country require a medical certificate of fitness to drive in order to obtain or renew their driving license. drive.

“We know that some of these drivers, aware of the current DVLA backlog, bypass the line in their own GP offices and go to licensed third-party physicians.

“The problem here is that only an individual’s general practitioners have access to a patient’s complete medical file, so only they know whether that person is fit to drive or not.

“By seeking the approval of an independent practitioner, who has nothing but the voice of the patient, there is a risk that the medical conditions will be intentionally or unintentionally underestimated and this has already had a serious impact on the patient’s health. road safety. “

A spokesperson for the Drivers and Vehicle License Authority (DVLA) welcomed the intervention of the BMA.

“By law, all drivers must meet medical fitness standards at all times, and there are additional checks for bus and truck drivers,” DVLA said.

“We have plans in place to reduce the current backlog of medical requests by hiring additional staff and night shifts, and we are also working on additional measures to increase our surge capacity and help process requests more quickly. . “

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This notice was published: 2021-08-24 07:35:25

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