We have been informed that during COVID many drivers’ licences have expired. The DVLA initially gave extensions so that drivers could continue to drive and work. For many drivers however, this extension is coming to an end.
Some Drivers are now being told by the DVLA to ask their GP if they are “fit to drive” so that they can continue to drive under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988). The DVLA has produced a leaflet which explains RTA 1988.
GPs are not usually qualified, and may not be insured, to advise patients whether or not they are fit to drive. In normal circumstances a GP practice may provide a factual report for the DVLA so that their expert medical advisers will decide upon fitness. If a GP were to provide an opinion that their patient was ‘fit to drive’, and then an accident were to occur, the GP may be liable. This would not be covered by the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice, as this is not NHS work.
If a GP were to say that a patient was not fit to drive, then that could equally potentially adversely affect the long term doctor-patient relationship.
For these reasons, if there may be any doubts about whether a person is fit to drive, GPs have been advised to decline to provide this assurance. WE apologise for any inconvenience this may cause but hope you realise that we are following our professional guidance and acting in line with our professional advisory bodies, for further information, please see this link www.bedshertslmcs.org.uk/weekly-update-for-practices-monday-2nd-august-2021/
Practices may wish to publish an explanatory note on their websites or noticeboards, so that patients are forewarned that this is what your policy is.
If a GP chooses to produce a bespoke report prepared for the patient to be sent to the DVLA on their behalf a reasonable fee may be charged, as this is not NHS work.