D4Drivers: Putting driver health first

More than 4,500 drivers are examined at D4Drivers’ 74 clinics in the UK every month. The service can be a godsend to operators struggling to get their drivers’ medicals completed

D4Drivers was started by Dr Grant Charlesworth-Jones in 2013 in response to demands for more accessible and lower cost DVLA medical checks for drivers.

A GP at the time, he was receiving enquiries from drivers who were unhappy with the long waiting times and high costs associated with having their medical completed by their GP surgery.

In a bid to remove the obstacle for drivers who required this straightforward medical in order to retain their entitlement and employment, he established a medical business aimed at improving access, and called it D4Drivers, after the D4 medical form which drivers have to complete.

He wanted to offer an affordable, easy to access medical service which provides a realistic alternative to GP surgeries and individual private doctors.

Reassurance for operators

Operators have often relied on GP surgeries or arrangements with local doctors in order to source their medicals.

However, these arrangements may be fragile and tend not to fully meet the needs of the business.

D4Drivers’ Account Manager Tom Blain explains: “If, for example, a driver’s entitlement is discovered to run out in a few days, a surgery often does not have the capacity to see that driver before he or she is forced to stop driving altogether. Similarly, if a local doctor falls ill, retires, or has some other commitment, then the service which the business receives may suddenly become unavailable.

“These aren’t risks that an operator or Transport Manager should be taking.

“D4Drivers uses trained doctors who are experts in completing DVLA and driver related medical examinations, so operators can be assured that when a driver is referred to us, they will be given a thorough, DVL-compliant assessment at a professional premises and all paperwork will be completed properly.

“We also set our prices exceptionally low and we allocate each business their own dedicated account manager so that it has a personal point of contact.”

Regular assessments

D4Drivers also offers a pay-as-you-go occupational health service without retainer which allows businesses to manage workplace illness and absence without incurring unnecessary costs.

The service guarantees an appointment within 48 hours of receiving a referral and completion of a report within 48 hours from examination.

Many operators are also choosing to have their drivers assessed more frequently than DVLA stipulates.

If a driver gains their entitlement at 18, they don’t need to be assessed again until they are 45, and a lot can change in that time. Even a five-yearly medical from the age of 45 leaves a lot of time for things to change or deteriorate.

To combat this, D4Drivers offers a DVLA style screening medical which can be delivered yearly or three-yearly for those drivers who are between renewals. Each assessment, if passed, will be accompanied by a certificate of fitness which the employer can retain as evidence of the driver’s fitness to drive.

Industry trust

Hundreds of transport businesses are already using D4Drivers and the company is increasingly being chosen by coach and bus operators.

“It’s really important that operators know that the doctor or medical service they are using is trustworthy and that drivers are receiving a thorough examination,” says Tom. “It’s not all about cost, in fact for many this is the last thing they ask us about.

“There are some unscrupulous doctors and businesses out there whose priority is making money, and not the quality of the assessment.

“Following a number of high-profile incidents involving drivers of large vehicles experiencing health issues at the wheel in recent years, it has never been more important for businesses in the coach and bus industry to demonstrate their commitment to improving safety and promoting driver health.

“One of the ways they can do this is by reviewing their current arrangements for medical provision. If they are still relying on drivers to source their own medical, they must accept that the likelihood is that the driver will simply find the cheapest possible place and go there.

“At D4Drivers we have a rigorous recruitment and selection process which ensures only the best doctors are able to work for us. We are exceedingly proud of the quality of the service which we offer and our Trustpilot reviews and business testimonials are evidence of this.”

A range of services

The firm has an open and flexible attitude when it comes to working with new operators. It enjoys learning about the customer’s business and often advises them on ways to improve their methods for managing driver health.

Tom says: “Our bespoke booking system can make the life of a health and safety or Transport Manager that much easier. The system was an official entry in last year’s Innovation Challenge at Coach & Bus UK which recognises exciting and revolutionary products and services within the industry, and although we didn’t win we did receive quite a few votes and many exhibitors signed up.”

Although the service was originally set up to provide DVLA D4 medicals, D4Drivers also provides a range of other checks including occupational health, drug and alcohol screening and fitness to work assessments.

There are 74 clinics nationwide including in Belfast and Scotland, but the firm is always looking for areas where drivers are struggling to access medical services.

Tom says: “We conduct ongoing research on a monthly basis into where there is a demand for a local, reliable medical provider offering availability to suit the needs of drivers. We would encourage any driver or operator who needs our service to get in touch, as we will always look to set up anywhere where there is demand.

“Our ethos is to deliver affordable and easily accessible medical services to the transport sector, and in doing so, promoting driver health and good practice within the industry.”