DVLA medical questionnaire changes start to progress

Proposed DVLA medical questionnaire changes set to advance

Proposed changes to allow more healthcare professionals to complete DVLA medical questionnaire forms have begun to move forward after the government published its response to a consultation on the plans that opened in November 2021.

Currently only doctors can complete those questionnaires. The Department for Transport (DfT) says that has slowed down the process of DVLA obtaining information about some drivers’ health. Over 80% of respondents to the consultation agreed with the proposed change, which requires an amendment to the Road Traffic Act 1988.

That change – for which a draft order has been prepared – will substitute “registered healthcare professional” for the current “registered medical practitioner.” The former will be defined as a person regulated by, and on the register of, one of the following bodies:

  • The General Chiropractic Council
  • The General Medical Council
  • The General Optical Council
  • The General Osteopathic Council
  • The Health and Care Professions Council
  • The Nursing and Midwifery Council.

“The intention is not to replace the role of doctors in the medical licencing process, but to ensure that the most appropriate healthcare professional provides the information and to allow that information to be provided more efficiently,” DfT says. It will not be necessary that the professional completing the questionnaire has given medical advice or attention to the driver concerned.

In its response, the Department further notes that many respondents “thought the proposal would reduce bureaucracy and improve efficiency, resulting in quicker licencing decisions for some customers.” Some consultation submissions observed that a wider pool of health professionals in the medical questionnaire process would also mean that DVLA receives better information on a driver’s health, although others believe the opposite.

When it launched the consultation, DfT noted that the average time taken to receive medical questionnaire responses was 75 days. Submissions to the consultation suggest that on average, each questionnaire takes 22 minutes to complete.

While many of the responses to the consultation were from the medical field, organisations representing the coach and bus industry that took part include trade bodies Coach and Bus Association Cymru and RHA, and operator Go North East.

DfT has pointed out that the proposed change will not affect routine form D4 medical examinations for vocational licence holders. Those will still be carried out by doctors. Instead, the amendments will apply only to the provision of information that already exists on medical records.

Read the government’s response to the consultation and associated documents here.