Following the Doctors on Wheels incident that has seen DVSA refuse to accept driver medicals conducted by the firm, Dr Grant Charlesworth-Jones, medical director of D4Drivers, sets out why operators shouldn't dismiss the value of a check-up conducted correctly.

With the average age of an HGV driver in the UK nearing the mid-fifties and with everyone living and working for longer, assessing the health of this workforce is more than important, it is essential.

The DVLA D4 form is a screening tool that has evolved over the years; if undertaken correctly by doctors trained to understand the DVLA group 2 standards it can give operators confidence in the health of their workforce and that the billions of pound of freight transported for clients every year will arrive safely.

Diabetes is likely to be the fastest growing problem affecting drivers; the number of people with diabetes has more than doubled in the last two decades and now 3.8 million people in the UK have the condition.

At D4Drivers we offer a complimentary urine test for glucose (sugar), which can be an early indicator of diabetes – many drivers take us up on this offer and it is amazing how many people with pre-diabetes we have picked up every year.

It is important to remember that diabetes massively increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke which everyone wants to avoid.

We have also started health checks with senior staff from transport managers to board level – too often these key workers prioritise work over their health and yet they are the cornerstone of the transport businesses.

Raised blood pressure and stress are common and again, these are precursors to heart problems. We can’t change the demographics of the industry but we can certainly do a lot more to help their long term health – there is no need to be afraid of the D4 medical because it could detect a serious health condition.

I have no difficulty in stating that every month we see a D4 medical save someone’s life.