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Sleep Apnoea and the HGV Driver

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  • #76
    Dirty Trucker, do you have a link to figures showing how many OSA suffering truckers have fallen asleep and killed people?????

    6 months to reclaim a license which should never have been revoked (my consultant did not advise me to stop driving !!) is far too long and to then have to take an expensive HGV medical just to retain "granfather rights" is also wrong.
    My experience has caused several people to resist attending sleep clinic, how does this help road safety?

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    • #77
      hi sixofnine
      i won't bore you with my story (if you are interested you can read it farther back in this thread)
      but i would like to say that having been involved in an accident that had fatalities (not my fault & nothing to do with sleep apnoea) quite early on in my driving career, I would not like it to be on my concience that it had been my fault AND that I could have done something to possibly prevent it.
      In my opinion if they made sleep apnoea testing a compulsory part of the HGV medical (I mean any vocational licence medical) to include lorries,busses,vans,fire engines,ambulances etc this country would come to a standstill very quickly and then the powers that be would have to do something about it and speed the whole process up sharpish.
      I do agree with you that six months is too long even though I was only off for three months, in this day of electronic mail and all that, the process could and should be a lot quicker.
      I hope sooner rather than later somebody out there will realise that there are a lot more sleep apnoea sufferers driving on our roads and do something about it.
      With hindsight I now realise that I was just an accident waiting to happen and luckilly for me mine was a very minor one. The alternative just dosn't bear thinking about
      So you lost your licence for six months and suffered some inconveniences, so what,
      your still here and so are the people that you might have crashed into and now that you know you have sleep apnoea and are being treated for it you probably feel a hundred percent better I know I do.

      Sorry for the rant, nothing personal

      take care out there

      Ian

      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by gearjammer View Post
        hi sixofnine
        i won't bore you with my story (if you are interested you can read it farther back in this thread)
        but i would like to say that having been involved in an accident that had fatalities (not my fault & nothing to do with sleep apnoea) quite early on in my driving career, I would not like it to be on my concience that it had been my fault AND that I could have done something to possibly prevent it.
        In my opinion if they made sleep apnoea testing a compulsory part of the HGV medical (I mean any vocational licence medical) to include lorries,busses,vans,fire engines,ambulances etc this country would come to a standstill very quickly and then the powers that be would have to do something about it and speed the whole process up sharpish.
        I do agree with you that six months is too long even though I was only off for three months, in this day of electronic mail and all that, the process could and should be a lot quicker.
        I hope sooner rather than later somebody out there will realise that there are a lot more sleep apnoea sufferers driving on our roads and do something about it.
        With hindsight I now realise that I was just an accident waiting to happen and luckilly for me mine was a very minor one. The alternative just dosn't bear thinking about
        So you lost your licence for six months and suffered some inconveniences, so what,
        your still here and so are the people that you might have crashed into and now that you know you have sleep apnoea and are being treated for it you probably feel a hundred percent better I know I do.

        Sorry for the rant, nothing personal

        take care out there

        Ian
        Since we are into telling stories - I will give a hint of mine:- For 30 years I have found that I snored a lot and that when driving (and at other times) I would sometimes feel sleepy. When that happened I had plenty of warning and could choose my spot to stop and snooze for 15 minutes then continue refreshed. Anyone who ignored the warning signs and continued to drive should never get their license back.
        When I was assesed for OSA the consultant reported mine as 'mild', he did not tell me to stop driving but did tell me to inform DVLA.
        I informed them and almost by return was informed that my license had been revoked. I spent over 1000 on legal fees on an appeal. However, in spite of the fact that DVLA letter says you can appeal, there are no grounds for appeal.
        My advice would be, if asked, to stop driving until you are CPAP compliant (you will not be breaking any laws at that point and will be so much safer than many on the roads today). Then, when compliant, inform DVLA.
        Informing DVLA does not make you safer, just poorer and frustrated.
        Stopping driving makes you safe (unless your wife drives like mine!!).

        Comment


        • #79
          hi again
          to be honest I did almost exactly what you said, signed off on sick got diagnosed was put on cpap and then informed the DVLA by which time Iwas compliant with the requirements that they wanted, it still took just over 2 months from that point to get back to work so I agree with you entirely that the whole process takes too long and needs to be sorted but to be fair to the DVLA they really where very helpful in my case I kept them informed of what was happening and they agreed to let me return to work using the cover letter that I had because they already had my licence for my 5yr medical whilst they sorted out the paperwork with the consultant from the sleep clinic. They even sent an e:mail to the company I was working for at the time so they could sort it out with thier insurance
          So it's not all doom and gloom

          I think your wife must be related to mine lol

          Ian

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          • #80
            On a personal level, I was never at any time advised to give up driving or inform the DVLC.
            I have been compliant since 2002, in fact totally compliant from the first night I received my CPAP machine. I would never fall asleep/feel tired now when I am driving, in fact I feel as though I am concentrating better.
            I am not a professional driver, but I am also aware that the NHS/medical profession need to be more proactive in recognising OSA in the early stages, because mine went undiagnosed for around seven years at the very least, and during that time I was a definite danger to other road users, but I did not know what was wrong with me.
            If a person seeks help for a condition from the correct people, and they fail to act, then it is not the fault of the individual when something happens as a result of negligence on the part of the experts.
            The media are very quick to blame obesity/tired lorry drivers, yet I have never seen them point the finger at incompetent/lazy doctors who fail to act on what are quite obvious symptoms.

            Comment


            • #81
              The sad fact is that anyone struggling to combat daytime tiredness faces having to wait around two years before he gets to see a respiratory consultant; and that may well be under circumstances he would much prefer not to contemplate: blue flashing lights and mangled bodies.

              If someone were to say to you: 'You have a serious condition and you need to do something about it, but you'll have to wait two years before we can tell you how to get it sorted. In the meantime, try this diet.'' You would be outraged, wouldn't you? But that is precisely what is happening.

              From first visit to his GP describing his symptoms of daytime tiredness to actually getting a referred appointment to a specialist can take two years, and frequently very much longer, as we know.

              The GP reacts to what he sees in front of him: a large, overweight guy who needs to lose some weight. He addresses the symptom and not the cause by telling him to 'Try this diet and come back in six months' time.' The same will happen on his next visit, and probably the one after that.

              Hospitals are equipped with state of the art diagnostics: (the operating-theatre of a hospital I was in recently looked more like the pits of a Formula1 racing-circuit than a hospital). But if the hospitals don't get to see the patients, then how are they going to get treated? The GPs are not singing off the same hymn-sheet.

              Go to www.truckershealth.org.uk and access the quick route to getting diagnosed.

              Comment


              • #82
                Are you not out-of date with your two year referral 'fact', Richard? The NHS is getting ever more switched on to OSA.

                I was referred by my GP on my first visit complaining of permanent tiredness. I'd never heard of OSA until then.

                TF
                Respironics REMstar 'M' Series APAP.
                Resmed Mirage 'Quattro FX' Full Face Mask with a 'Quattro' headgear.

                Comment


                • #83
                  Not out of date at all, TF. You were very lucky.

                  There is a general recognition by the medical professionals I have spoken to, at least, that a GP's most likely reaction is to tell his patient that he must lose weight, without any question of a referral for respiratory investigations.

                  We know, of course, that being over-weight is a common symptom of OSA, and losing weight will help reduce the condition. But it is by no means the whole answer.

                  BRAKE, the road-safety charity, have gone so far as hosting a reception in Parliament to draw attention to the problem and issued a statement that OSA can be treated by careful dieting over a period of time. However, BRAKE work in partnership with Cambridge Weight Plan, so draw your own conclusions - dieting is a help, of course, and we know there are many hose-heads who have gone on to lose weight through using their CPAP.

                  GPs should consider a referral for possible OSA in the first place, rather than use it as a last resort when dieting has failed to produce a cure.

                  Richard

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    TIME or lack of

                    Doctor took 4 weeks of alternative tests before going with Sleeping Disorder
                    after a private visit to ear nose and throat ,he was fast tracked by recommendation to Royal Brompton nhs ,bupa wont pay for sleep disorder tests.Six weeks later got appointment,given diagnosis and machine next day,started using,six weeks later another upgrade,and 5 months later an overnight sleep study .Meanwhile work is still not letting him back despite assurances that these upgrades are just to help him and that hospital and DVLA are satisfied he is sufficiently compliant to drive Hgv.He has also assured them that any time he felt tired or not had sufficient sleep he would say.Unions involved but he has been off work 8 months now.,and may not be taken back.So you can understand why other drivers are reluctant to get tested for this after all this is fast track and having been diagnosed and treated he is a lot safer than the tired driver who went to the doctors feeling unwell.He could have just returned to doctor and said he felt better after the first two weeks he didn't but others would rather than loose their jobs.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by MASKMANS WIFE View Post
                      Doctor took 4 weeks of alternative tests before going with Sleeping Disorder
                      after a private visit to ear nose and throat ,he was fast tracked by recommendation to Royal Brompton nhs ,bupa wont pay for sleep disorder tests.Six weeks later got appointment,given diagnosis and machine next day,started using,six weeks later another upgrade,and 5 months later an overnight sleep study .Meanwhile work is still not letting him back despite assurances that these upgrades are just to help him and that hospital and DVLA are satisfied he is sufficiently compliant to drive Hgv.He has also assured them that any time he felt tired or not had sufficient sleep he would say.Unions involved but he has been off work 8 months now.,and may not be taken back.So you can understand why other drivers are reluctant to get tested for this after all this is fast track and having been diagnosed and treated he is a lot safer than the tired driver who went to the doctors feeling unwell.He could have just returned to doctor and said he felt better after the first two weeks he didn't but others would rather than loose their jobs.
                      Sorry to hear that about your OH, and it is typical of the dilemna which people find themselves in. If there is an accident, then the finger will be pointed at the "reckless, selfish" lorry driver, and if you seek treatment, then you will be out of work, maybe for a short while, maybe much longer.
                      In today's climate, you can understand why so many people do not want to jeopardise their careers.

                      Andy

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        if u dont tell the dvla then its down to the individual themselfs,
                        there will always be somebody giving it tut tut,
                        but there are lots of illnesses that u should not drive,
                        even taking cold capsuals can invalidate ure insurance,
                        i couldnt tell a driver to possibly give up licence for 6 months
                        when hes/she has got morgage gas elecy etc to pay as most haulage firms dont pay sickness pay,
                        haulage has the reputation long hours low pay no benefits,there is the odd exception though.
                        my advice ,get treatment private/nhs if it works and ure happy then thats whats counts look after no1 because no one else will
                        dont be one of the _i wish i kept ma trap shut and said nothing to the dvla

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Just a quick tip, to anyone having difficulty getting their GP to recognise SA - go direct to your local A&E department and tell them you keep falling asleep at odd times of the day, and that you are a professional driver. You will be amazed how quickly you can get dealt with, as it is a heart related ailment.

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            sleep apnoea and the hgv driver

                            hi every one
                            just to let you know my hgv licence was due up on 27/1/2012 valid for 1 year at a time because of sleep apnoea.I received all the paperwork mid december and filled it all in and sent it back, heard nothing by mid january so called dvla and was told they needed my consent to contact my doctor and consultant (this was already done by signing the consent box on the forms they had already received) not good enough so had sign some other documents and send them back.OK to carry on driving though because they had sent me another cover letter. still heard nothing by beginning of march and was thinking of calling them again when my licence came through the post It was worth the wait though because it is now valid for 5yrs. the next problem I will probably have is that my five year medical would have been due in august 2015 and my new licence is valid until march 2017 lol. Watch this space and we will see if the different departments have been speaking to each other (probably not).

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Well done on the 5 year licence Gearjammer

                              Just got my Licence back but still only yearly,but that may be down to the pacemaker.The problem I have is all different medical problems cross,for example dvla need me to have a cardio treadmill test every 3 years or after any heart related treatment.The out come is my licence is at dvla longer than it is with me.Must not complain as they still let me keep driving,so heres a happy 51 year old 44t artic driver

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                well porky? at least you've still got your licence. we are the same age i'm 52 in august although i must admit i'm getting a bit tired of tramping now but have been doing it for so long i don't know if i could take to being home every night more to the point she who must be obeyed would probably kick me out lol

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