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DVLA chief says DOCTORS to blame for 100,000 drivers having to wait a year for new driving licence

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DVLA chief says DOCTORS are partly responsible for 100,000 drivers waiting a year for a new driver’s license

  • DVLA chief Julie Lennard made a suggestion during a committee appearance
  • She said some GPs are taking too long to respond to requests for information
  • Between April 2020 and September 2022, 36% of medical licensing decisions took longer than 90 days

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Doctors are partly responsible for nearly 100,000 people who wait a year for a new driver’s license, says the head of the DVLA.

Julie Lennard suggested GPs and consultants are taking too long to respond to requests for information, delaying the processing of medical driver’s license applications.

The DVLA has achieved a goal of processing 90 percent of medical licensing decisions within 90 business days in the two years before the coronavirus pandemic.

But between April 2020 and September 2022, more than a third — 36 percent — of medical licensing decisions took longer than 90 days.

And 6 percent – equivalent to about 91,000 – took more than 250 working days, according to official figures.

Ms Lennard was pressured yesterday by Tory MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown during an appearance before the Commons Public Accounts Committee.

He asks whether consultants or GPs are not responding quickly enough to requests for medical information, or whether the delay is caused by the DVLA.

Ms Lennard said: ‘There can be an element of both things – if all the information isn’t there sometimes it means you have to get back out there.

DVLA chief Julie Lennard (pictured) suggested GPs and consultants are taking too long to respond to requests for information, delaying the processing of medical driver's license applications

DVLA chief Julie Lennard (pictured) suggested GPs and consultants are taking too long to respond to requests for information, delaying the processing of medical driver’s license applications

The DVLA has met its goal of processing 90 percent of medical licensing decisions within 90 working days in the two years before the coronavirus pandemic (Photo: DVLA offices in Swansea)

The DVLA has achieved its goal of processing 90 percent of medical licensing decisions within 90 working days in the two years before the coronavirus pandemic (Photo: DVLA offices in Swansea)

The DVLA has met its goal of processing 90 percent of medical licensing decisions within 90 working days in the two years before the coronavirus pandemic (Photo: DVLA offices in Swansea)

‘Others we may have GPs and consultants who need some time to get back to us, especially now, but it’s understandable if the focus is on clinical need.

So it could be a combination of both. But in general, if you look closely, once we have the information, we can make decisions quickly.’

Asked if doctors and advisers were at fault, she insisted it was a ‘combination’ but said: ‘This is the only area of ​​DVLA where it’s not entirely in our control because we depend on third parties.

‘It is not just about obtaining information from general practitioners and consultants, it may also be that various tests are needed.’

A National Audit Office (NAO) report earlier this month said the DVLA was processing 330,000 applications for medical licenses in February – three times the average number in 2019/20.

In September, there were about 207,000 pending applications – still 100,000 more than the normal number.

A huge DVLA backlog developed during the pandemic, as fewer staff were able to work at the agency’s Swansea location and paper applications could not be worked from home.

The NAO report said about half of the DVLA’s workforce, comprising more than 6,000 people, had been placed on paid special leave in the three months following the start of the lockdown.

Between March 2020 and June 2020, there were only about 1,000 employees working on site – instead of about 3,300.