The law requires HGV drivers to be in reasonably good health in order to legally operate commercial vehicles on public roads. To that end, every new driver must undergo an HGV medical exam with accompanying paperwork that is submitted to the DVLA by the physician who performs the examination. Drivers are required to undergo a new medical exam every time their licence comes up for renewal.
The HGV medical is comprised of two parts. The first part is an interview in which the doctor and candidate discuss any existing medical conditions that may interfere with safe driving. Medical history is also discussed. Candidates are expected to be upfront and honest during this discussion. Any dishonesty brought to light by a future accident or violation could result in very unpleasant consequences.
The second part of the medical is an actual physical examination in which the doctor will check the candidate’s vital signs, vision, etc. The entire exam usually takes no more than 30 minutes. During the exam, the attending physician fills out an official DVLA form that he or she will submit directly to the authorities. You can download a copy of this form from the GOV.UK website.
There are no special qualifications for conducting the HGV medical test. Any doctor registered in the UK can be utilised. That means you can go to your NHS GP or a private physician in your local area. But keep in mind that both options have their pros and cons.
An NHS doctor will perform the HGV medical with no out-of-pocket cost to you. But if time is of the essence, you may not want to go this route due to long scheduling times. In fact, we recommend our students go to a private physician in order to get the HGV medical completed right away.
Private doctors have shorter waiting times and more flexible scheduling options. The major downside is that students must pay for their medical exams themselves. Be aware that some doctors can charge upwards of £150 or more for a 30-minute exam. If you sign on with the HGV Training Centre, we will provide you a full HGV medical pack that includes all of the necessary paperwork and referrals to private physicians guaranteeing the lowest prices on medicals.
The physician who conducts your HGV medical exam will be looking at some very specific things. As long as you are in reasonably good health, you should not have a problem. That said, the existence of some serious conditions may disqualify you from professional driving.
Also understand that developing certain medical conditions after you are already licenced may result in your licence being transferred from the standard format to a short-term format. Short-term licence holders must undergo more frequent medical exams in order to keep their licences.
Here is a list of some of the things a physician is required to check in during the HGV medical:
This list of conditions may make it seem as if a candidate must be a perfect physical specimen in order to be licenced as an HGV driver. But this is not so. As we have already stated numerous times, you need only be in reasonably good health to pass your HGV medical.
Licenced HGV drivers are required to report a change in health to the DVLA if they develop any sort of medical condition that could potentially disqualify them from driving. Those conditions include all of the things listed above as well as additional conditions such as cancer.
Reporting a developing medical condition may require the driver to undergo a new HGV medical exam in order to continue driving. Passing a medical exam may result in the restoration of full driving privileges or the transition to a short-term licence. In either case, the driver must continue to keep his or her doctor updated about the medical condition in question.
Should driving privileges be suspended as a result of a failed HGV medical, there are processes in place to enable the driver to have his or her licence restored. Some of these processes can take months to complete. This is not intended to punish the driver in question, but rather to ensure both his/her safety and the safety of others on the road.
The HGV Training Centre makes sure all of our students successfully undergo the HGV medical before starting to train with us. But after that initial exam, the rest is up to the student. It is your responsibility, as an HGV driver, to make sure you get the appropriate medical exams whenever these are required.
We urge HGV drivers to be cautious of those who offer heavily discounted medical exams. Be especially careful of mobile services offering exams at rest stops out of the back of a delivery van. Some of these services are legitimate; others are not. You can learn more by searching a provider’s name online to find out what other drivers have experienced while using them.
Also, be aware that falsifying an HGV medical form is against the law. The government takes the health of commercial drivers seriously; they do not look favourably on those who are untruthful in any way.
The HGV medical exam ensures all commercial drivers are healthy enough to safely operate their vehicles. It is an excellent tool that makes our roads safer across-the-board. We urge you, if you are considering a career as an HGV driver, to not be prevented from applying due to minor medical conditions. At least undergo the medical exam and see how you do. You may be in better health than you know.
We are here to answer any questions you might have about the application process or training to become a professional driver. The HGV Training Centre offers industry-leading training at dozens of facilities staffed by experienced trainers and committed support personnel. We would be happy to help you launch your career as an HGV driver.
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