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DVLA updates 25-year-old guidance on ‘fitness to drive’

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Guidance to help healthcare professionals assess patients’ fitness to drive has been given a much-needed major overhaul.

The new guidelines produced by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) replace the “At a Glance” guidance that has been in use for 25 years.

The DVLA said it had updated the guidance after healthcare professionals complained it was dated and hard to use.

The agency has worked with nurses, GPs, consultants and optometrists to develop the new document and ensure advice is clear and consistent.

Under the law, people who hold a driving licence are required to inform the DVLA if they have an injury or medical condition likely to affect their ability to drive safely.

Healthcare professionals are required to advise patients of the impact of medical conditions on their ability to drive and ensure they know the rules about informing the DVLA.

In some circumstances, doctors and nurses may have to contact the DVLA themselves if a patient cannot or will not report a relevant health condition – in order to protect the person in question and others.

Conditions that could affect someone’s ability to drive safely include stroke, epilepsy, neurological and mental health conditions, eyesight problems and physical disabilities.

The guidance includes new and updated advice on a number of medical conditions, including loss of consciousness and sleep apnoea.

As well as making it clear when action should be taken, the document also sets out circumstances when the DVLA does not need to be contacted, such as when it comes to the use of certain medications and driving after surgery.

The guide has been produced as part of wider efforts by the DVLA to improve services to both healthcare professionals and drivers.

It includes the development of a new service that allows drivers to report medical conditions that may affect their driving online, which is due to be trialled this summer.

The new guidance – Assessing Fitness to Drive: A Guide for Medical Professionals – is available online from today.

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