Usually I complete the medical form, my GP signs it and my new licence is sent. This has always been okay with me; if I am honest I know in the future my condition will progress and it will result in needing to surrender my licence.
The DVLA, following my medical application, requested that I attend a medical review with my GP and with that the application should be complete. I attended the appointment last month.
I had a half-hour appointment booked in and I failed to attend due to my car not starting that morning, meaning that I had to cancel it.
The appointment was remade and I was given a date and time with a Doctor within the clinic; however, this was a new Doctor who hadn’t seen me previously.
On attending the appointment, the G.P seemed surprised to see me and wasn't sure why I was there. She appeared flustered, confused and unaware of how to proceed with my medical review; her final conclusion was that she just needed to complete the form that was sent.
After 5 minutes of reading the criteria, she dismissed me stating “you really don’t need to be here for me to copy from your notes”. That was it and I went with hope that the wait would soon be over.
That was until I received a letter from the DVLA, stating that the application for the licence has been refused due to medical information given which made me unfit to drive. My whole driving licence has been revoked.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read it, although in some ways I expected that this day might happen. That was until I saw the reason:
“We received medical Information that you recently suffered a psychiatric illness so you should not drive at present."
It continued to say:
“The Secretary of State’s Specialist Panel Advises that stable good mental health is required for at least 3 months as well as maintaining satisfactory engagement with a recommended treatment. A longer period may be required if you suffer a relapse or the symptoms become focused on situations relevant to driving"
The reason isn’t physical but mental. The problem I have is that I haven’t suffered a recent psychiatric illness. I have a Dependant Personality Disorder and the last psychiatric illness that I suffered was when I had my nervous breakdown and was subsequently sectioned. That was 3 years ago. The personality disorder has been on-going in that time and at a good, stable rate.
As for my DPD, well for the last year I have been fighting for treatment with this and finally started having therapy in December 2015.
So this comes down to the ignorance by the DVLA and their medical understanding of Mental illnesses. What I also can’t justify is why they haven’t been consistent with their policy of 3 months of good mental health, or why they haven't acknowledged that I am being treated.
Initially I put it down to the incompetence of the GP that saw me, since the DVLA was saying that the decision was based on their medical review; however, after seeing my GP and the form they completed, it clearly shows that I have DPD and I met with the Mental Health team for the first time in April 2015.
Clearly I must have the right to appeal this? No.
The medical decision has been made by the panel and therefore there is no appeal process. My only option is a re-application. (Which you can also see in the above photo.
I contacted the DVLA immediately and they confirmed this. Appeals only apply to legal withdrawals and this is done through the court but it can NOT be done on medical grounds.
Furthermore, my only option is to get the GP to contact them and then reapply with new forms, including medical information, and wait for approval again. This, due to waiting times, can take a minimum 12 - 18 of weeks.
So here I am a disabled man restricted to his property because he isn’t legally allowed to drive.
This prevents me from collecting the boys from their Mum ( neither she nor her partner drives ) visiting family and friends, attending work and extra activities.
There is so much wrong here:
To have a psychiatric condition affect my driving I would need to have disorders that are out of my control and are unmanageable. This is not the case; if I was unstable I would still be in hospital and not receiving direct treatment.
There is also the fact that I am under treatment with my Mental Health team who should be more qualified to answer this section, specifically the doctors I regularly have treatment with, but no contact was made with them.
Why is there only an appeal process set for legal decisions within the DVLA and not medical?
Why am I unable to access my medical forms without: a) Asking my GP to do it? Or b) Writing a letter asking the DVLA to post it to me? (Adding additional waiting times due to their backlog)
I am still shocked that I have been left without transport. My Muscular Dystrophy prevents me from using any public transport other than taxis without adult assistance which I do not have.
I have an appointment with my regular GP next week, but managed to obtain a last minute appointment today with another unknown doctor. Luckily, she has agreed to contact the DVLA for my forms and write a supporting letter; In addition, I have spoken to and obtained supporting letters from my Mental Health team.
I have also contacted my local MP to see if they can help in any way. I will fight this, and I will win.
Surely a disabled man and parent cannot be penalised due to incompetence of a Specialist Medical Panel?