DVLA fitness to drive
During the Covid-19 pandemic many drivers’ licences have expired. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) initially gave extensions so that people could continue to drive and work. Many of these are coming to an end and so some are being told by the DVLA to ask their GP if they are ‘fit to drive’ under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. GPs are not usually qualified and may not be indemnified to advise patients whether they are fit to drive. In normal circumstances, factual reports are sent to the DVLA so that their expert medical advisers can decide upon fitness. If a GP were to provide an opinion that their patient was ‘fit to drive’ and then there was an accident the GP might be liable. This would not be covered by the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice as this is not NHS work.
It is recommend to write to the DVLA explaining that as a GP your place is not to provide an opinion as to an individual’s fitness to drive, but that you can provide factual information about your patient’s health with their consent. GP practices may wish to publish an explanatory note on websites or noticeboards, so that patients are forewarned about their policy.
If a GP chooses to produce a bespoke report prepared for the DVLA for a patient a fee may be charged.