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New law change allows more flexibility for healthcare professionals completing DVLA medical questionnaires

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Driver licensing, Drivers medical, Features

Since I last spoke to you, asking for your views on our proposals to widen the pool of medical healthcare professionals who may complete our medical questionnaires, I'm delighted to share that our work with you enabled a change in the law to widen the pool of medical professionals who can now complete DVLA medical questionnaires following a referral from a doctor.

The consultation showed 82% of those surveyed, were supportive of this approach to improve and speed up the medical licensing process.

These changes came into force in July this year.

The amendment to the Road Traffic Act 1988 means more healthcare professionals for example, clinical nurse specialists, physiotherapists and optometrists can now fill in DVLA questionnaires.

This change does not apply to the D4 Medical Examination Report which will still need to be filled in by a doctor who is registered with the GMC.

Why has it changed?

In some instances we need to contact you when we’re told about a medical condition which might affect someone’s driving, and we use the information to decide what action we need to take. This can sometimes be very time consuming and we’re very much aware of the need for GP practices and hospital teams to prioritise and manage their resources.

Until recently, only doctors registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) were allowed by law to fill in the questionnaires. This change now means healthcare professionals from the following councils can also fill in our medical questionnaires:

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

We’ll continue to send the medical questionnaires to the GPs or hospital doctors in charge of care, but they can now pass the questionnaire to the most appropriate medical professional for completion.


Reducing the burden on doctors and healthcare professionals is important to us:

  • the change means that the administrative task of completing DVLA medical questionnaires doesn’t fall solely on GPs or hospital doctors, allowing them to devote more time to clinical activities
  • doctors are not required to ‘sign off’ medical questionnaires completed by other healthcare professionals

We also believe it’s essential that the hard work and expertise contributed by all professionals involved is acknowledged and reflected in the information that DVLA uses when considering applications.

For drivers, most importantly, the information we receive can be provided by the most appropriate healthcare professional who knows best how a medical condition affects the applicant. By spreading the work across a wider range of healthcare professionals, it’s likely the information will be returned to DVLA quicker, allowing us to make decisions about their case sooner.

We recognise that individual GP surgeries and hospital teams work very differently, and this law change also allows them as much flexibility as possible to manage the enquiries they receive from us.

Ultimately, the aim of the change is to enable the most appropriate healthcare professional to provide the information they have. In some cases, this will remain with the doctor, but in other cases GP surgeries and hospital teams will be able to change their current practice and allow a different healthcare professional to provide the information, where possible. We believe that this change will benefit not only driving licence applicants for the reasons above but will help to reduce the administrative burdens on doctors, freeing up time to allow them to focus on patient care.

What we’ve done

We’ve made changes to our letters and forms and updated our medical questionnaires on GOV.UK. We’ve also shared our updated advice and guidance and the process to follow with the healthcare community.

A dedicated monitoring process has been set up to make sure there is a continuous improvement of the service.

All drivers must meet the medical standards for fitness to drive at all times, and we need to carry out more checks for bus or lorry drivers.

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  1. Comment by J. Knight posted on

    I note that DVLA Medical Group require "improvement" beyond the ten medical criteria in publish guidance, if an exceptional case applicant failed a driving assessment prior to PDALs including time for pre-assessment tuition. Clarification in September of improvement is a compliant visual field (in which case a PDAL and revocation are not applicable). Additionally, the definition of exceptional case is specifically a revoked driver who has satisfactorily completed an assessment. Other applicants who meet the ten criteria are expected to have visual fields that will change although this is at least 12 months post-revocation; expert opinion is that it is very unlikely.

  2. Comment by Hina posted on

    Good idea it should speed up the time it takes to get a driving licence hopefully the backlog should reduce down to it took two years for my dad's licence to arrive and six months for mine

  3. Comment by Paul posted on

    What about multiple sclerosis nurses , I see mine twice a year

    • Replies to Paul>

      Comment by DVLA External Communications posted on

      Hello Paul

      Thanks for commenting on the blog. I can confirm that the change in the law allows for healthcare professionals for example, clinical nurse specialists to fill in DVLA questionnaires. This change does not apply to the D4 medical examination report which still needs to be filled in by a doctor registered with the General Medical Council.

  4. Comment by Brenda Gutberlet posted on

    After my niece's killing by an elderly man who had severe optical defects(coroner's verdict : she was unlawfully killed), I am delighted at the inclusion of optical professionals and hope this new amendment to the 1988 Road Traffic Act will enable Opticians to report directly to the DVLA when a driver is told they must not drive as they do not meet the required optical safety standard.

  5. Comment by David Gutberlet posted on

    A very welcome and much needed improvement to widen the reporting scope to include particularly optometrists. Ideally I would like to see the reporting of unfit drivers to be obligatory by all health professionals, with no exceptions. At least this is a step in the right direction.

  6. Comment by Michael Ray Kitchens posted on

    As a Ex health care professional this is a good idea. As it controls people that are unfit to drive, like i was back in November i had an Hearing loss and an infection on my eardrum and i deemed myself unfit to drive, also signed off sick by the doctor, and not well enough to drive, this will protect the driver and other users on the road this will also stop employers expecting the ill people to still drive as deemed not well enough to. Well done about time.