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Fitness to drive changes for NSW eyecare professionals

Transport for New South Wales has overhauled its fitness to drive certification process, which is expected to provide greater efficiencies for optometrists, ophthalmologists and other health professionals in the state.

The state government agency says the simplified system – introduced 29 July – now requires health professionals to complete the form online, with NSW motorists no longer required to take paperwork to a Service NSW Centre.

Drivers who are over the age of 75 are required to have a medical review every year, which includes an eyesight test. People with certain chronic medical conditions, hold an MC class licence or drive public passenger vehicles also require regular medical assessments to ensure they are fit to drive. The new online forms process is expected to bring benefits to both health professionals and those motorists.

“The time and costs involved in handling, distributing and duplicating paper-based patient information will also be reduced, significantly improving efficiency for practices,” a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.

“Two generic online forms have been replaced by 12 specialist focused online forms, removing the need for doctors to strike out non-relevant information. The forms will also pre-populate previous assessment data and provide online links to National Assessing Fitness to Drive medical standards – making them easier for practitioners to reference while assessing a patient.”

Information submitted online will be securely and instantly transmitted to Transport for NSW and recorded for future patient case reviews and completions.

Once the information is submitted online, patients receive instant confirmation from the health professional that their report has been securely transmitted to Transport for NSW and their driving record has been updated. Doctors can email or print a copy of the completed medical assessment at any time.

For health professionals, the online form can be submitted through the Best Practice, Genie, Medical Director and MedTech patient management systems. For those without access to these, forms can be electronically submitted through the HealthLink portal website, available via 1800 125 036 or register@healthlink.net.

A case study

Mr Jones will be turning 75 years of age in the next eight weeks. He does not have any medical conditions declared on his driver licence.

Transport for NSW sends him a request to have a NSW Fitness to Drive assessment, as it is mandatory for all NSW driver licence holders 75 years and over to have an annual medical review.

He attends his local GP who opens up the NSW Fitness to Drive form through the Electronic Medical Records system on his computer and types in Mr Jones’ licence number. This form shows that Mr Jones does not have any pre-existing medical conditions.

The doctor indicates on the form that Mr Jones has a vision and eye disorder, atrial fibrillation and a mild case of arthritis. The doctor makes a recommendation that Mr Smith is fit to continue to hold his driver licence.

The GP submits the medical assessment which is transmitted directly to Transport for NSW. The GP receives a real time response which indicates Transport has received the medical assessment and that Mr Jones is required to have his vision reviewed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist to continue to hold a driver licence. The GP can print out a copy of the medical review and the real time response for Mr Jones to keep.

Mr Jones leaves the GP knowing that he needs to see his optometrist.

Transport for NSW sends Mr Jones a letter advising he needs to see his optometrist or ophthalmologist to check if his vision meets the required standard to hold a driver licence.

Mr Jones makes the appointment with his local optometrist, who then logs into the online eyesight report form. The optometrist completes and submits the form and advises Mr Jones that his vision meets the standard to continue to hold a driver licence.

The optometrist receives real time advice which confirms the eyesight report form has been received by Transport for NSW. The optometrist can print the result out for Mr Jones to keep with his records.

Mr Jones has now completed the steps to maintain his driver licence.

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