In the driving seat

Optometrists are now able to complete Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency medical questionnaires

hand on steering wheel

You wouldn’t ask a plumber if they could have a look at your roofing after they fix your sink.

Or hand your electrician pruning shears after they finish the wiring and gesture in the direction of an overgrown backyard.

Using the same logic, it makes complete sense that the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) has permitted optometrists to assess a motorist’s ability to drive when they a condition that affects their eyes.

From July 20, the law has changed to allow a broader pool of healthcare professionals to complete DVLA medical questionnaires following notification of a medical condition that may affect an individual’s driving.

The change means that doctors are now permitted to defer the paperwork to the healthcare professional who is best placed to complete the questionnaire.

Professionals registered with the General Chiropractic Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council and Health and Care Professions Council are now eligible to complete DVLA medical questionnaires.
As well as easing the pressure on general practice, the change affirms the skills and knowledge that optometrists have as a profession.

Optometrists have the right skills and equipment to test visual function for driving, and are often already involved in the patient’s care.

This shift in process simply makes sense. However, it is imperative that optometrists receive appropriate funding for performing this new role.

The skills of the workforce need to be valued as well as utilised, particularly in the context of broader pressures on the optometry workforce – including persistent underfunding of General Ophthalmic Services and spiralling inflation.

OT is keen to hear your thoughts on how the change will affect the profession. Please get in touch [email protected]