Vision standards for driving have become an increasingly controversial subject in recent years. Tragic news stories involving drivers with impaired or inadequate vision has brought into consideration the complexity of the role of eye care professionals.

While they can advise patients of their legal responsibility to notify the DVLA/DVA they cannot compel them to do so, nor do they have a legal obligation to inform the DVLA/DVA themselves. However, where there is a public interest they can raise concerns directly with the DVLA/DVA themselves. The GOC Standards make clear that practitioners should promptly raise concerns about their patients if in their professional judgement, patient or public safety might be at risk. This responsibility is also detailed in guidance from the Department of Health.

However, research we conducted revealed disquiet among some registrants about exercising this duty. In cases where a patient either cannot or will not notify the DVLA, over 70% of registrant participants said they would not feel comfortable informing the DVLA themselves.
In response to our research findings and calls from registrants for us to provide further support on this matter, we have developed draft guidance. The guidance helps eye care professionals understand the circumstances in which the public interest will outweigh the requirement to maintain patient confidentiality.

We encourage all eye care practitioners and stakeholders to take part in the consultation. We will review all feedback and consider making any appropriate changes.

You have until June 13, 2019 to take part, please visit : https://consultation.optical.org/standards-and-cet/disclosingconfidentialinfo.