The need for drivers to undergo HGV driver medicals is to be suspended – possibly for a year - as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, according to a letter sent by MP Robert Buckland to a constituent.

News of the suspension of D4 medicals will be met with relief by thousands of HGV drivers who are legally required to undergo a driver medical in order to renew their licences but have been unable to do so during the Covid-19 pandemic lock down.

The decision was revealed in a letter from Swindon MP Robert Buckland to a constituent who had raised concern that HGV drivers are in danger of breaching their licence conditions since they cannot obtain D4 medicals during the pandemic.

Buckland’s letter, seen by, states: “I raised this issue with my government colleagues in the Department for Transport and their response was that ministers have agreed to suspend the requirement for a D4 for a period of time, likely up to a year. The DVLA will update their website to reflect, if they haven't already.”

The pandemic has created a massive backlog of D4 medicals over the past few weeks with GPs instructed to postpone all non-NHS medicals work and major providers of D4 medicals suspending their services.

Fit2Drive Medicals carries out between 1,000 to 3,000 D4 medicals a month, while D4Drivers processes up to 5,000 drivers a month. Both providers suspended all D4 medicals two weeks ago.

Read more

HGV drivers called on DVLA to announce the suspension immediately.

Paul Yelland, an HGV driver currently carrying out essential deliveries, told “I hope DVLA confirm this as soon as possible. If you look at DVLA’s Facebook page there are so many drivers contacting them, terrified of having their licenses revoked and just getting the standard reply that DVLA is aware of the situation and will get back when any decision is made.

“It is not good enough. We are key workers and we are risking our health and our families' health every day to get essential supplies out and yet we have to put up with the stress of not knowing if our licences will be revoked because we cannot get a D4 medical.

“I have contacted DVLA on numerous occasions and even contacted my own MP and not had any confirmation. There are drivers out there that are terrified they are going to lose their jobs and their homes. It is a disgrace that it has taken this long and so we would just like absolute confirmation that this is the case from the DVLA as soon as possible."

Dr Grant Charlesworth-Jones, medical director at D4Drivers, warned against a year-long suspension of D4 medicals.

He said: "We have doctors available to work, even with their commitments to the NHS at this time, but until lockdown is lifted the clinics will have to remain paused.

"We would suggest to the DVLA that any driver needing to renew the licence during lockdown and in the month that follows should be given six months in which to obtain their medical and complete the renewal process. We see no reason why drivers renewing in say, September, would need to have their renewal postponed as this would simply create a continuing backlog for the industry and nobody wants that.”

Both MP Robert Buckland and the DVLA have yet to respond for a request for confirmation that D4 medicals will be suspended.

Asked if DfT is to suspend driver medicals a DfT spokeswoman said: "DfT is urgently considering requests for driver medical reports and is working to develop a solution," adding that it was"vital to help keep drivers on the road" during the Covid-19 crisis.