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Your HGV Medical Exam – 3 Things You Need to Know

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When it comes to qualifying as an HGV driver, it can feel like you have to jump through a lot of hoops before you receive that licence. But those hoops are necessary – they are what keeps you and other road users safe every day. Alongside your exams, training hours and practical tests, you will be required to submit a medical exam to get your licence – and then another every 5 years if you want to keep it. This exam shows that you are physically fit to drive an HGV and that if you have any risk factors, they are known and planned for and prevented where possible. To help you out, here are 3 of the most essential things you need to know about the HGV medical exam.

What the Exam Involves

When it comes to medical exams for the DVLA, this is much more than a box-ticking exercise. It’s something that needs an in-person, thorough medical exam done by a certified medical professional. That means a GP or equivalent private doctor. The doctor will have a checklist of things to work through and will fill them in as they do the exam. One the exam is done, the doctor will review the documents, sign them off and send them directly to the DVLA – so all you need to do is turn up for the exam. During the exam, the doctor will do a full and thorough health check and history, including:

  • Eyesight
  • General health
  • Heart and cardiovascular health
  • Mental health
  • Nervous system problems
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Epilepsy
  • Sleep disorders

One of the things you may find the doctor paying a lot of attention to is your eyesight. This is arguably your most important sense on the road, so it deserves a lot of attention. In order to pass the eye portion of the medical you will need to have adequate vision (either corrected or uncorrected) – with at least 6/9 in one eye and 6.12 in the other to pass. The good news is that you won’t be penalised if you wear glasses, as long as they ensure you have an accurate vision.

What Can Disqualify You

Like any test, it is possible that you can fail the medical exam. If the doctor decides you are unfit for any reason, they can recommend you are not to be allowed to drive an HGV. The doctor will generally only do this if they believe you pose a serious risk to the safety of yourself or others if you get behind the wheel. Possible reasons for disqualification include:

  • Mental disorders
  • Visual impairment
  • Risk of seizures/epilepsy
  • Heart disorders
  • Recent history of blackouts or unconscious episodes
  • Any history of drug or alcohol abuse

This list isn’t exhaustive, but these are often the main factors for disqualification. And while they count as risk factors, they don’t mean you will be automatically disqualified. But you are more likely to run into issues if you suffer from them. Ultimately, it’s up to your doctor whether they consider you fit and healthy in spite of these conditions.

It’s Not Always Free

Finally, it’s important to know that the medical exam isn’t necessarily free. While all UK citizens are entitled to free GP appointments, there is no directive for medical exams for jobs to be free. So while most GPs offices will offer these longer, more in-depth appointments for free, there are some that may charge a nominal fee to cover the time, since it isn’t a traditional GPs appointment. So it’s worth checking whether your GP surgery charges and if they do you may want to consider making an appointment with a private doctor to save the waiting time.

Ultimately, the medical exam is there to make sure you and everyone else on the road will be safe with you behind the wheel. There is no automatic ban on being an HGV driver, even if you do suffer from one of the above conditions – it’s down to the professional judgement of your doctor. So if you are otherwise fit and healthy, it shouldn’t be a problem for you. If you are healthy enough to pass the medical, we would love you to consider training with us. If you would like to find out more, just get in touch today.

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