Having a medical- what to expect

What to expect at your driver medical

Having a driver medical is a pretty painless experience. We have lots of clients who are just a little nervous when they arrive and really don`t know what to expect, so here is a a short article to let you know the ins and outs of the appointment, what you can expect and how to prepare. We have asked our doctors to contribute their thoughts so that we can give you a few handy hints and demistify the whole thing. The first thing to say is that the formal, white-coated doctor is a myth- our doctors are all friendly and happy to chat.

Arriving for your medical; We ask that you arrive early for a couple of reasons- from our point of view, we want our clinics to run to time if possible, that way we don`t cut into our client`s time and keep people waiting for too long. Its also really important that you can relax before your assessment. One of our doctors said “One of the main reasons why people will fail their medical is, in my experience, High Blood Pressure. People often say that they have run to get the appointment on time and are very surprised when their blood pressure is outside the DVLA limit. Rushing around before your appointment is going to leave you with raised BP and I have to report what I measure in the appointment- arriving 15 minutes early might just allow time for your BP to fall back to a normal level, meaning you pass first time.”  So we always ask that you get there in plenty of time. It`s worth saying here that, for the same reasons, it is worth avoiding sugary drinks, strong coffee or energy drinks before your appointment. when you arrive you will be asked to take a seat and wait to be called in. There are a few things we need you to bring- you will get an email after booking that will go through this in detail

The doctor will call you in as soon as possible. If you have arrived early and the clinic is running to time then you may even get in early. Often our medicals are carried out in hotels and office spaces, so the room may not look all that “medical”, The doctor brings all of the equipment needed, so there is no need to worry about this- nothing complex is needed for our medicals.

You will notice a stethoscope, an eye chart (also known as a snellen chart)- probably hung on the wall or sat on a table in a spot where you can stand the right distance from it- a blood pressure monitor and a stamp.

The medical starts with an eye test (there will be a separate blog post about this), which will test your vision with and without your glasses. If you wear contacts then you will need to be able to remove them to do the eye test and still get home safely, so bring any fluid you need.

The doctor will be able to tell you there and then if you have passed your vision test. The vision test is basic and just designed to see if you meet the basic group 2 standard. If you do not pass then you will be advised to take your D4 form to an optician to get your eyes formally tested and any glasses prescription you need.

Physical examination; The doctor will carry out a basic physical examination that will involve the measurement of your blood pressure, listening to your heart and feeling your pulse. Usually this is all the examination that needs to be done, the rest of the medical is really a conversation about your medical history. If something becomes apparent in your history or through the doctor`s observation of you during the appointment, then other examinations may be carried out with your consent. The doctor may take up to 3 measurements of your blood pressure, if required, and the best measurement reported on the form. We will also need to run through the details of any prescriptions you have, including doses- so make sure you have the information with you.

At the end of the medical, the doctor will run through everything with you, making sure that the form is fully completed. At this point the doctor will also let you know of anything that was a concern or anything you might need to know. Whilst we are there to do a driver medical, not to diagnose any illnesses, our doctors still have a duty of care and will recommend that you see your GP if they are concerned about anything. We have had occasions where our doctors have spotted issues that really needed treatment; one of our doctors said that “a patient came to see me for a medical and we found that when we measured his BP, it was really very high- at a level that was physically dangerous to his health. I stopped the medical there and sent him to hospital- he came back later to complete the process and told me that he had been admitted for a week and treated for an undiagnosed illness. He was very glad that he had come for his medical as he had not seen a GP for years, so there was no telling how long he had been in that dangerous medical condition.” They will also tell you if they think there is any documentation you need to include with your application, like hospital letters for example. Remember that all decisions lay with the DVLA, not with our doctor and they may ask you for things that our medic did not think you needed to send.

Once we have completed your medical, our doctor will hand your form back to you for you to send to the DVLA. After this point we have no control over the process, so any queries on progress should be made with the DVLA. We advise you to take a photo or photocopy of every page of your form and send it off by recorded or special delivery, just in case it gets lost at the DVLA. Very rarely, the DVLA will return your form to you with an error. If this is an error our doctor has made then, of course, we will help you fix it. We have less than 1 per cent of our forms returned so it really is a rare occurrence, but if it does happen we fix it quickly and efficiently.