DVLA: Doctor warns of ‘significant legal impacts’ to delays
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The GP from the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that drivers risk going to dodgy GPs to get their medical assessments. The DVLA has been struggling through a growing backlog in processing applications for driver’s licences due to the pandemic. More than 200,000 drivers in the UK are waiting for their medical assessments by authorised GPs to either secure a new licence or renew the old ones.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Dr Peter Holden from the BMA said: “The backlog is over 200,000 and growing, and the problem we have is that because DVLA can’t cope.
“They are using an aspect of the law, which was designed for occasional use for administrative hiccups to get around what is now systemic problem, and telling people to come to their GP.
“Now that has quite significant medical-legal impacts.
“Drivers who need a license are going to third-party organisations who don’t have all the records.
“And what happens is they’re working on ‘the driver tells me so’.”
He went on: “And we all know there are well-documented disasters that have come from that, from people getting a license when it shouldn’t have happened.
The presenter then asked: “What is the process? Talk us through how long it takes to do these assessments, how much time it is taking of yours and what impact that’s having on the other jobs that you’re doing.”
Dr Holden went on: “There are two categories but let’s stick with the HGV drivers because that’s why you’ve got supermarket shelves empty at the moment, heavy goods vehicle driver needs a medical when they start needs one periodically after the age of 45.
“The amount of time varies according to what the medical condition is.
“They basically go get their eyes formally tested with a proper opticians check, optometrists check, and then they come to their GP or it could be any doctor, and that’s where the problem comes because only the GPS got the full lifetime record, and to do the job properly, it probably takes you 40 minutes because you’ve got much of the information there.
“And you’ve got to examine them physically. You’ve got to listen to her heart check, check the things look right, it’s a proper medical examination.”
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It is reported that motorists submitting paper driver’s licence renewals could potentially face a 10-week delay.
A DVLA spokesperson said: “Our online services have not been impacted by the pandemic and continue to run as normal and without any delays.
“There are delays in processing paper applications due to ongoing industrial action and social distancing requirements, which means that we have had fewer staff than usual on-site at any one time.
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