Drivers offered anonymous sleep apnoea test

Drivers who fear they have a medical condition that stops them breathing in their sleep are being offered an anonymous test that will diagnose the disorder and offer advice.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS) can leave sufferers feeling chronically tired, preventing them from remaining alert and increasing the chances of a road traffic accident.

It is thought to affect as many as 40,000 commercial vehicle drivers.

However, concerns have been raised that professional drivers who suspect they have the condition are not seeking treatment because they think they will lose their licence.

Now a specialist hospital in Cambridgeshire has teamed up with to provide an anonymous service for people to be treated for OSAS.

The Anonymous Sleep Apnoea Process uses monitoring equipment overnight in the privacy of a patient’s own home.

Specialist sleep consultants at Papworth Hospital then analyse the test results and provide a diagnosis, NHS treatment or advice.

Dr Ian Smith, director of Papworth Hospital’s respiratory support and sleep centre said: “We know that treating sleep apnoea can greatly improve quality of life and reduce the risk of accidents, especially on the roads.

“We hope that by providing an anonymous service we will be able to reach another group of patients and give them the opportunity to be treated for their own sake, but also for the benefit of us all through making our roads safer.”

VW still declining to talk compensation as lawyers gear up for action

VW has declined to address the issue of potential compensation relating to the recent emissions scandal, insisting it is “too early” to discuss the matter despite a number of legal firms starting to call on VW owners to register an interest in making a claim.

Earlier this month, UK MD Paul Willis told the Transport Committee it was “premature” to begin talking about compensation for UK customers who might have suffered from a drop in residual values, following news that VW had been fitting ‘defeat devices’ to rig emissions tests on some vehicles. He also said it was premature to discuss compensation for van dealers over loss of business.

Talking to more recently, a UK spokeswoman for VW insisted it was still “too early at this stage” to discuss possible compensation for customers, adding that as far as she was aware, no VW dealers had expressed any concerns about the effects of the emissions scandal on their business.

She admitted, however, that VW was “trying to ramp up the number of Euro-6 engines we’ve got available on the Caddy… so they can really sell with confidence”.

A growing number of legal firms are calling for VW owners to step forward, however. They include York-based solicitors Corries, whose website states that it has already issued court proceedings against VW in respect of one of its own vehicles and invites others to join it.

According to the site, Corries “would not be surprised” to see a drop in residual value of 10% as a result of the situation and believes it has paid up to £2,000 over the odds “in the belief we were buying a greener car than is actually the case”.

It site adds that dealerships, lease companies, hire companies and fleet operators may also have “substantial claims” against the firm.

VW, which has already committed to putting €6.5bn (around £4.7bn) aside to deal with the costs of the matter, still has not confirmed what technical fixes it will apply or what the fuel consumption impact is expected to be on affected vehicles, which include 79,000 commercial vehicles in the UK consisting of Caddys and older Amaroks. 

Its spokeswoman has confirmed, however, that the service action to repair affected vehicles is still scheduled to begin in January.