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A fifth of a million waiting for doctor assessments to drive

26 August 2021

Over 200,000 people are waiting for a doctor’s assessment to renew their driving licences.

Disabled people who need transport to remain mobile are caught up in the backlog which is months behind schedule.

The British Medical Association fears public safety could be put at risk if drivers go to private services offering fast fit-to-drive assessments without access to full medical histories.

The BMA’s Dr Peter Holden told The Times: “By seeking ‘sign off’ from an independent practitioner who only has the patient’s word to go by, there’s a risk that medical conditions may be, either intentionally or unintendedly, understated and this has already had a grave impact on road safety.”

Delays at the DVLA which processes driving licence applications have been blamed on social distancing rules and strikes at its Swansea HQ.

Also, motorists who submitted paper applications are facing delays of around five months.

DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “Transport is a critical part of living for all people, but especially Disabled people. The lack of independence that a lack of transport brings impacts every area of a Disabled person’s life, from shopping to work to getting to medical appointments and exercise. Backlogs like these can lead to significant difficulties for people already struggling to maintain their mobility.”