DVLA update #4 (complaint #2)

Hi

I’m really not a serial complainer, and to do so makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable, but this is the second time I have felt the need to complain about the way my licence renewal has been handled this time round.

My driving licence ran out at the end of March 2012 and since your first contact I have filled out four identical or near-identical forms dealing with my medical condition and my fitness to drive. I complained after the first three forms, to which you sent me an apology for an unspecified admin error for which I’m grateful.

It has now been three weeks since I sent off the latest form. As the DVLA always give me three weeks grace to reply before the threat of revoking my licence, I thought it appropriate that I contact you now.

I want to register the fact that it has taken an excessive amount of time to process my renewal. A conservative estimate says that it is in the region of four months since I sent you my initial form. Since my first complaint, nine weeks ago, I have received a letter telling me that it could take up to six weeks for you to contact my neurologist. AFTER that six week period you sent me another form regarding my doublevision. Why you didn’t sent me that letter and form at the same time as the other one, I don’t know.

The impression that you’re leaving me with, is that the working methods of the medical group are woefully inefficient.

Once this process is over and I receive my new licence, I know I’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief and think “that’s it for another three years,” but why should this be so? Why should I expect the DVLA to make a mess of my renewal each and every time it comes up? Surely that’s an unacceptable state of affairs and one that should be addressed. I never have a problem renewing my tax disc online, so maybe you could look into moving the renewal process online. It would save a lot of stress for people like me and no doubt make life easier at your end too.

As I said before, I’m not a complainer, but I will complain when I feel moved enough to do so. I know I’m not alone. My MS peer group have reported similar problems to me in the past and the nurses at the hospital have warned me about potential problems with the DVLA before, so you already have a reputation.

Please, can you speed up my renewal and then start looking into making efficiencies in the way you work? I’m not too badly off healthwise compared to others, but this might change and you need to remember that you are dealing with some of the most vulnerable people in our society. People who could be socially isolated or unable to work without their driving licence.

DVLA update #3

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will be aware that my driving licence officially ran out at the end of March as I have to have it updated every three years.

You will also be aware that I don’t have my shiny new licence yet due to the DVLA Medical Group making an admin error. An error that they have since apologised for. I likened them to an office of chimps a day or two before the apology, for which I am also truly sorry.

A day or two after the apology I received another letter from them advising me that they were contacting my neurologist and that this should sort everything out, but that it could take up to six weeks. That was back at the beginning of April.

It’s now six weeks later…

I have received another letter from the DVLA Medical Group stating “the information you have given us tells us that you have double vision (sic) so therefore we require you to complete a further questionnaire which is enclosed.” They go on to note “this questionnaire may appear similar to the one you have recently completed,” one? Try three, “but will provide us with important information from you that we currently do not have.” They then go on to tell me that I have 21 days to fill in the form, or else.

Actually, they do have all the extra info, because it is identical to the info I gave them three years ago. I wonder if the original form could ask if there has been any change in my medical circumstance since 2009, or maybe the original form could be reworked to be more comprehensive in terms of do you have eye problems, if not, go to question 6.

Or maybe… MAYBE… shock! horror! they could provide a secure online form that I could fill in from the comfort of my settee. They seem to be fine with me filling out my tax disc renewals online, why not my medical info? Then it wouldn’t matter how long the form is, I could tick a box to say a certain section isn’t relevant and be redirected to the next section.

Yes, it certainly could be a lengthy form, but it wouldn’t get lost and I wouldn’t have to fill it in four times, and it would presumably get processed a lot quicker.

Then comes the uncertainty. They want to know how I control my doublevision when driving. It’s a fair question and one I get asked by almost everyone when they find out about it. The stock questions and tickboxes they provide are: patch, glasses/lenses, prism or other.

I fall into the “other” category. I can’t help but feel that if I tick the “patch” box I’ll be off the hook, home and dry, scott free. The truth of the matter, however, is that my doublevision occurs when I look left so I don’t need a patch because most of the time I look straight ahead or to the right when I’m reading, and regular readers will know that I was refused lenses on the grounds that my eyesight was too good.

The way I control my doublevision is… wait for it…  

I turn my whole head to the left when I look left, or I close one eye. There. Simple …and probably a hundred times safer than wearing a patch as I have an all-round awareness of my environment that I wouldn’t have with a patch.

This solution seems to amaze most people as if it would never have occured to them.

Now I have another nervous wait to see if this info amazes the DVLA as well.

In the meantime, fingers, toes and eyes crossed…

DVLA update #2

After my complaint (see recent posts) I am glad to say that I have received a full apology for being sent the same forms repeatedly in my battle to have my driving licence renewed.

Apparently there was an “administrative error” which meant that none of my forms were scanned onto their systems in the first place.

My case is being given “urgent attention,” so watch this space…

DVLA update #1

Two emails received since I contacted the customer services manager.

The first, an auto message to say they have received my email and will reply within 10 days.

The second, another auto message to tell me the message has been passed from the customer services manager to the relevant department, and will again reply within 10 days.

Watch this space…

I have a mental image of the drivers medical group as an office of chimpanzees. Not quite sure why chimps (seems a bit unfair to our primate cousins)*, but it’s an image that has stuck.

It’s ineptitude like this that gives public sector workers like me, a bad name.

* – and to chimps as well – ho ho!

DeViL’s Arse – Part 2

Hello

I feel I must write to complain about the appalling treatment I have received from the drivers medical group at the DVLA. I don’t even have any paperwork to hand, because I have been asked to send it all back at every available opportunity.

Basically, I have multiple sclerosis, and I have to update my medical details every three years. I received a CN1 and a D497 form to fill in, in the new year with little accompanying information (if any).

I wasn’t asked for a photograph, but the DVLA info on the DirectGov website stated that the date on section 4b of my license was the expiry of the photo. As the date coincided with the expiry date of the license, I spent £5 getting passport photos, but not before checking by sending the department a message via the online form on the DirectGov website.

The reply I received didn’t really answer my question, so I added the photo to the other info and sent it off to your department.

Two or three weeks later, everything was returned to me, along with a D1 form for me to stick the photo to and sign the box. The letter from the drivers medical group stated that this was the only thing I had to do.

I returned this, with all the information I had originally submitted in the first place with a note describing everything I had done, matching it up with everything you had asked me to do. I also stated that I would make an official complaint if I received anything other than my shiny new driving license through the post.

After three weeks, I have received a photocopy of the D1 form along with a blank CN1 and D497 form again. You have also sent me a brochure for the mobility roadshow, just to make me feel happy about my condition.

If I only need to fill in the D1 form, why have you sent me a CN1 and a D497?

If I need to fill in the D1 form, why did you say I ONLY needed to attach the photo and sign the form, last time?

Does the D1 form have any extra info that you haven’t already received from me via the original CN1 and D497?

It could well be that my photo is out of date because it is probably about ten years old. But if you need a photo from me, why didn’t you send me a D1 form with your original correspondence?

Do I have to go through this rigmarole every three years? Having to reapply is an irritation at best. This time I am beginning to feel that it’s demeaning. I shouldn’t have to jump through hoops or decipher the information that you send me (…or don’t send me …or send me twice). My license runs out on the 31st, today is the 27th. I expect a speedy resolution.

DeViL’sArse

I’m not in the habit of complaining, and I don’t want to be the sort of person who does, but the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) have seen fit to part me from my driving license.

Apparently multiple sclerosis falls into a category of degenerative medical conditions whereby I can only be issued with a short-term (three year) license. When this runs out I will be sent a “computer generated form” and asked to re-apply. I only hope it doesn’t result in the hopeless correspondence I have experienced with the DVLA so far, which has involved all sorts of irrelevant questioning on their part and needless reiteration on mine.

The definition of discrimination includes “Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit” (source: Wiktionary), which is surely what this is, because apart from the DVLA’s decision, I am legally obliged (along with the rest of the population) to inform them of any deterioration in my health anyway.

I have sent my license off to Swansea, before they officially revoke it. I can appeal if I want, but if I did it would be on behalf of people in the UK with MS rather than on my own individual circumstance. I have checked out the Disability Discrimination Act (the legal eagle that I am!) and there appears to be a clause whereby this sort of thing is allowed if an Act of Parliament requires it, so it’s set in law. In this case, I think the law is the DeViL‘sA**e