Driver’s license backlog increases for people with medical conditions
An investigation has found that almost 337,000 motorists with medical conditions are waiting for the DVLA to renew their licences.
More than 800,000 people in the UK are waiting for a new driving licence, although 39 per cent of these motorists are those with medical conditions who may need a GP to approve their applications, a report claims.
Delays in medical driver’s licenses are ‘affecting some of the most vulnerable sections of society’, who are often in their 70s and live in remote areas and rely on their cars as a ‘vital lifeline to get to appointments’ medical appointments, shopping, or visiting friends. and relatives’, says Heycar, who carried out the investigation.
Playing a waiting game: Over 336k drivers with medical conditions are waiting for the DVLA to process their license applications as backlog rises 65% in a year
A medical driver’s license is issued to a motorist suffering from a condition or disability that must be declared to the DVLA.
There are around 200 separate problems listed on the government website that must be declared, including anxiety, diabetes, arthritis, epilepsy, and heart conditions, to name just a few.
These requests may need more information and approval from a health care professional, depending on the type of condition.
I had to wait FOUR MONTHS for my license renewal
Barry Kirby, 70, from near Ormskirk in Lancashire, said he has been a victim of the massive backlog of medical driving license applications in the last year.
He has a neurological problem and previously suffered from sleep apnea, he was severely affected by a four-month wait for his driver’s license.
When he submitted a paper application for his 70+ license renewal in September last year, he stated that he had suffered from the condition in the past and the DVLA sent him a medical questionnaire to complete.
He then heard nothing for two months and was frustrated that he could not speak to anyone at the DVLA, despite numerous attempts.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” says Barry. ‘I was unable to contact anyone at the DVLA. When I called them they would redirect me and wait and wait and no one answered.
“All I could do was check the GOV.UK website and found that my license had been revoked.”
That prompted the leasing company to tell him to “stop driving immediately”, even though it left him with £250 monthly payments for a vehicle he couldn’t use.
“I live in a rural area and we only have a bus service every two hours during the day, so I was very restricted at home,” explains Barry.
‘I had to go to the hospital, which takes 10 minutes by car. I tried to walk and it took me an hour to walk to the next bus route and I was exhausted. And that bus never came. I ended up in the middle of the field calling a taxi.
Towards the end of November, the DVLA wrote to Barry to let him know that they had contacted his doctor and expected a delay in receiving a response due to the current situation with the coronavirus.
Barry spoke to his doctor’s office and received confirmation within two days of the DVLA letter that the doctor had replied to say that he was medically fit to drive.
He then heard nothing from the DVLA and after a month of not being able to contact the telephone consumer website HonestJohn.co.uk for help.
Two days after contacting DVLA on Barry’s behalf in January 2022, he was informed that his driver’s license had been authorised.
Barry says it put an end to ‘months of frustration’.
However, the fact that GPs are seeing fewer people face-to-face has caused further delays in the process.
On March 25, 2021, the DVLA had an order book of 203,890 of this type.
By March 25, 2022, this number had jumped to 336,759, an increase of 132,869, or 65 percent.
The study also suggests that some of these motorists are waiting up to six months for their license to be renewed.
Many of these are likely to be paper applications, which have been further affected as staff at the DVLA headquarters in Swansea have been largely working from home during the pandemic, creating a backlog of waiting mail. to be open.
There was also a nearly two-month strike by staff who claimed the building was not Covid safe, adding to existing delays.
The backlog of applications, documents and unanswered calls has led Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to promise to digitize the DVLA, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has threatened to “privatise the butt” of the government agency and the Office of Passports for immobilizing the British.
The DVLA says it will hit “normal” turnaround times for paper driving license applications (up to three weeks, including some time for postage) by the end of May.
As for medical requests, the goal is for 90 percent of cases to be processed within 90 days by the end of September, the government agency says.
A medical driver’s license is issued to a motorist suffering from a condition or disability that must be declared to the DVLA. Back problems are just one of the problems that might need to be medically cleared by a GP for drivers who declare the condition.
Sarah Tooze, consumer editor at heycarHe said: ‘Delays in medical driver’s licenses are affecting some of the most vulnerable sections of society.
“They are often in their 70s, live in remote areas, and rely on their cars as a vital lifeline to get to medical appointments, shop, or visit friends and family.
“While some may be able to drive while their application is being processed, this is not the case for everyone, and many are too scared to take the risk because they are unclear on the DVLA Guidelines.’
Those awaiting medical driver’s license renewal will most likely not be able to continue driving while their application is being processed because the DVLA stipulates that they must meet medical standards of physical fitness, something motorists going through this process will not be aware of. until they have signed. from your GP.
They also cannot continue to drive if their last license was revoked for medical reasons.
Tooze says it will be an “even greater source of anxiety” for drivers with medical conditions not knowing what’s going on with their apps.
“They accept that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused delays, but not hearing from the DVLA or not being able to speak to anyone for months is unacceptable,” he added.
“We believe that the DVLA should step up its communication, put an end to the unnecessary worries of drivers and restore the confidence of motorists who have rightly lost faith in the system.”
Previous research found that 363,280 UK driving licenses were medically revoked between early 2014 and mid-2019 with figures from the DVLA showing a significant increase in the number of motorists taken off the road due to illness or condition since 2016.
Data showed that 2018 had the highest annual cases of motorists deemed unfit for the road with 73,724 having their licenses revoked that year, according to online car sales site Motorway.co.uk.
Using the breakdown of figures for 2019 alone, alcoholism was the single main reason the DVLA was forced to cancel driving licences, followed by conditions causing seizures or blackouts and vision problems.
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