Thursday, 25 February 2016

I've been left Housebound by the DVLA's Prejudice!

For the last 9 months, I have been trying to update my photo licence with the DVLA. In October 2015, I received a letter requesting my medical details as they have my on-going Muscular Dystrophy on file from previous updates and renewals.

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  My whole driving licence has been revoked.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? 

#GetMartynMoving 
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44 comments:

Thismummylark said...

Hope it gets resolved for you :( isolating you sounds like one of the worst things they can do

Hannah Brooker said...

With you all the way!! #GetMartynMoving indeed!

Lisa said...

Standing with you Martyn. Have shared your post with #GetMartynMoving

Kim Carberry said...

Oh gosh! I hope this is sorted out soon. It is so unfair. Good luck x

Martyn Kitney said...

Thank you. Yes, it really is. It's not ideal for my physical health let alone my mental. despite the fact I've been stable for such a long time; things like this have an impact on everything.

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks Hannah, I really appreciate it. Hopefully this will be the start of getting this resolved!

Martyn Kitney said...

Thank you Lisa. I really appreciate it. Hopefully the sheer error and ignorance of misunderstanding of Mental health on the DVLA's part will be resolved quicker than their estimated times.

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks Kim. It is ridiculous! Disgraceful how this can happen.

Mother of Mad Cats & Babies said...

What an utter cock up!! The irony is that there are probably driving around who aren't actually safe to drive (there's a guy in our road who refuses to wear his glasses and drives very badly) but the DVLA has no idea, yet you've followed their process and been penalised! I hope you get it sorted soon!!

Anne Stone said...

Gobsmacked! Truly I have no words about the situation, I just hope you get it resolved soon.

Maggie Jones said...

Really hope you sort this out sooner rather than later.

Emily Higgins said...

Oh Martyn, it's awful that this has happened to you. You're such a good person, a great father and it doesn't seem fair at all. You shouldn't be housebound and I find it ridiculous that there is no appeal process. I hope they take notice of the outrage their decision has caused and rectify this for you x

Mummified Mummy said...

That's appalling, can feel my blood boiling just reading it- so goodness knows how you feel. Then shackled by their ridiculous rules, absolutely atrocious. Like you said things like this, losing your independence can rock the equilibrium you've worked so hard to re establish - shame on them. Would be good to let the MH team do some daily chasing to the DVLA on your behalf to save the burden falling solely on you. #getmartynmoving x

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks, it really is. Yes! That is the irony and frustration of it all! I do what's right and I'm penalised due to their error! Thank you, I hope so too!

Martyn Kitney said...

Thank you. It is ridiculous. Just the sheer system for it all is shocking enough. I hope that it'll change.

Martyn Kitney said...

Thank you Maggie. I really appreciate it. It's a ridiculous situation to be in.

Martyn Kitney said...

Thank you Emily for all of that. I shouldn't have been left in this situation. It's ridiculous. As for their appeal process well according to then the reapplication process is the same. I don't see that as the same at all. Nothing but a disgrace that this has happened.

Martyn Kitney said...

Thank you. To be honest I'm equally both infuriated and devastated. The anger is helping me to focus in doing all that I can to get it changed but with that I'm still getting hit with floods of disappointment.
Exactly that! Potentially waiting that entire time could have an impact both mentally and physically which could result in doing damage to the good work that has already been set in place.
My MH team have been fantastic though and are helping me every step of the way. Something that I am truly thankful for. It's good to know that I've got the back up to help me through this in lots of ways.

Becster said...

This is bloody awful Martyn! I'm so sorry it's left you with no transport - clearly the system doesn't work. Surely leaving you with no transport and housebound could make your situation worse! The panel at the DVLA obviously don't understand your condition.

I hope you can get it sorted ASAP! And I love the previous commenters hashtag! #getmartynmoving

Lucy Howard said...

Oh Martyn, this is absolutely hideous. I can't believe that this has happened to you. As you say, it is discrimination. And it is completely outrageous and unnecessary. The DVLA and their corrupt bureaucracy should be ashamed of themselves. I plan to share this far and wide. I think you should flag this with some charities - perhaps MIND and Scope! They should be able to put some power behind your campaign. #GetMartynMoving Love and hugs Lucy xxxx

Rachel In Real Life said...

Oh Martyn this is awful! As I was reading I was sure you were going to say it was the new GP's fault, that perhaps she hadn't explained MD properly but it's obvious that the DVLA are simply ignorant and prejudice against those with personality disorders! It's absolutely unfair that there is no appeals process.

Ally Mother Under Measure said...

This has wound me up no end! How on Earth can they treat a person like that, you're not a number or a statistic, you're a human being with needs!!! And while your needs are more specific than most of us, this does not entitle them to write you off and try to eradicate you from their system. The injustice of it is awful, and what's even worse is their lack of help and advice they're offering you, they should be compensating you in some way or trying to find an alternative option while it gets sorted. We'll get this sorted, I'm sure of it. So many people have got your back xxx

Natasha Mairs said...

This is terrible. It seems clear to me that the DVLA don't know how your condition effects you at all. They have just heard the words 'mental health' and think that you are some nutter, about to get in your car and run everyone over in a psychotic episode that you have no control over. They truly don't understand and we need to stop this stigma right now!

Unknown said...

This is the most stupid, moronic and utter nonsense I've ever heard. How can the DVLA jump from "had mental health issues a year ago" to "is clearly a danger to society" without talking to a mental health specialist first? And then, tie you up in such knots that you can't get the situation un-screwed without obscene levels of bureaucracy. *sigh* Stuff like this makes me so mad.

Unknown said...

Good luck with the fight, decisions need to be made by experts who can read facts and not judge just on words etc

Martyn Kitney said...

Thanks Becs. Well this is the problem. Leaving me in this situation and for a long period of time really isn't a good thing. I think you've hit the nail on the head where the dvla clearly don't have a good understanding of personality disorders.

Martyn Kitney said...

Thank you Lucy. I completely agree with all of it; it's disgraceful that it can happen. Thank you for sharing and helping with this. It's greatly appreciated.

Martyn Kitney said...

No, bit I thought exactly the same about the GP but that's how the dvla are pitching it. Basically they are following the GPs instructions which is strange as the GP have confirmed that I'm okay mentally.

Martyn Kitney said...

Exactly!! It's a fact of seeing a human being rather than just a reference number. I think I could tolerate it if it was my physical health but mentally there's no justification! Hopefully they'll change it. Thank you, it's nice to know so many people are supporting me on this.

Martyn Kitney said...

That's exactly how it comes across. The fact that they haven't even followed their mental health procedure is shocking enough....they should just group all mental health together.

Martyn Kitney said...

I have no idea how they can! It's ridiculous when the medical for clearly states April 15. It goes against their policy of 3 months stable health and their point on getting and receiving treatment which I am. And the fact they haven't sure subsequently seen the notes and decided to contact my health specialists is beyond me, they'd be better to gauge my situation.

Yes. Their red tape is ridiculous to seek a reapplication in respect of an appeal if beyond me.

Martyn Kitney said...

Thank you. That's exactly it!

Squirmy Popple said...

So sorry to hear about this, Marytn - it really doesn't seem fair and highlights the issue with having a 'one-size-fits-all' policy rather than considering individual circumstances. Good luck with the fight! #abitofeverything

Lisa Graham said...

Hope you get this sorted out soon. I had no idea that psychiatric conditions could effect your license. It must be so difficult for you they should have an appeals process

Charlotte TheMummyToolbox said...

oh no what a horrible experience! and it's definitely unfair, to not have an appeal process either is ridiculous and very isolating for you! I hope you can get it resolved #TwinklyTuesday

Harriet from Toby & Roo said...

This is terrible. What an absolutely awful thing to happen and so very unjust. I hope you find a resolution that isn't so biased and prejudiced. H :)

Jodie Fisher said...

Gosh!! What an ordeal. I hope there is a solution to your problem very soon.

Jess Hill said...

What a crappy experience, when new doctors judge you without even knowing you, it makes you feel like a child being told off, make sure you only have appointments with your doctor next time! I hope this gets resolved for you quickly! x

Everything Mummy said...

Oh no Martyn sorry you are having to go through all of this what a night mare I hope they see sense and it is soon all sorted out for you!

oana79 said...

I hope things get sorted for you, I know you have raised a lot of awareness with your post and hopefully this will lead to positive changes, not only for you, but for many people in similar circumstances.

Leesha Starr said...

I hope this gets sorted out quickly for you. It's awful when you get stuck with a new doctor that doesn't know anything about you and judges you inaccurately because their lack of knowledge about you

Natalie Ray said...

Sorry I haven't previously commented on this, I got distracted by sharing it with everyone I could think of. As you know I am absolutely outraged for you and I do hope that the DVLA soon come to their senses and give you back your independence.

@adadcalledspen said...

Sounds like you could do with a good public law lawyer to look at this for you. Let me know, by email, if you do want a chat with someone who can look at your options. My partner happens to be just that very person and she has a great team who can also advise.

Agent Spitback said...

I am so outraged on your behalf! It constantly baffles me how the "system" continually penalises people who are doing the right thing or need assistance the most. I work in an industry where I see and hear stories like this and it is heartbreaking where the family feels helpless. I hope everything got sorted for you. #abitofeverything