Cabinet minister warned about effects of driving changes on diabetics

Tue, 08 Nov 2011
Members of the charity Diabetes UK and the chair of the all-party parliamentary group for diabetes Adrian Sanders MP have met with Transport Minister Mike Penning to discuss worries about forthcoming changes to rules on driving with diabetes. The rule change comes from a European directive that diabetes patients who have suffered two severe hypos within the period of a year could have their Group 1 licence revoked.

Penning admitted he would be worried if the number of diabetics who lose their licence increased drastically as a result of the changes, and agreed that there needed to be greater clarity regarding the criteria for assessing fitness to drive for people with diabetes. Since some hypos can occur when you are asleep, and the definition of severe is open to debate, the rule changes are being criticised as open to misunderstanding.

It was agreed that a working group would be instigated to review the definitions of severe hypoglycaemia and examine the statistics of diabetics having their licences revoked, as well offering improved guidance on the driving licence application and renewal process.

Simon O'Neill, director of care, information and advocacy at Diabetes UK, commented "We now have a real opportunity to take forward our concerns and resolve these issues, and we will continue working with the DVLA to try and ensure the process for people with diabetes who are applying and re-applying for licences is fair, consistent, transparent and safe."
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