More healthcare professionals can now assess fitness to drive

From 20 July, the law changed to enable healthcare professionals other than doctors to complete the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) medical questionnaires in Great Britain.

What does this mean for the Parkinson's community? 

  • Doctors in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to refer the fitness to drive assessment to colleagues such as Parkinson’s nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and opticians.
  • The medical licensing process should be speedier.

The DVLA will still, in the first instance, send medical questionnaires to doctors and consultants. It will then be up to GPs and consultants to decide which healthcare professional is best placed to determine whether a person with Parkinson’s is fit to drive. 

While doctors will not be obliged to ask other healthcare professionals to complete the medical questionnaire on their behalf, the change to the law will allow them to refer to Parkinson’s nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech and language therapists, as well as opticians. 

The DVLA hopes that having more healthcare professionals who can determine if someone is fit to drive will speed up the process.

Welcome news

Sue Christoforou, Senior Policy and Campaigns Adviser at Parkinson's UK, said:

"We are pleased the UK government has recognised the delays that people with Parkinson’s experience when applying for or renewing their driving licence are untenable. 

"We expect this increased capacity for assessing fitness to drive will speed up the application and renewal process. 

"Being able to travel is critical to reducing social isolation and loneliness. It also gives people the independence to get to healthcare appointments, see friends and family, and get to and take part in physical activities that can help manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s."

Share your experience of applying for or renewing your driving licence 

Our advice team frequently hears from people with Parkinson’s about difficulties applying for or renewing their driving licence. 

We want to hear about your experience of applying for or renewing your licence and what you think about the UK government’s expansion of the range of healthcare professionals who can assess fitness to drive.

To share your views call 020 7963 9349 or email [email protected].

If you need information and support or advice on Parkinson’s and driving, call our helpline on 0808 800 0303 or email [email protected]