Estimated read time: 8.5 mins
Mr Y was a 57-year-old bus driver who had been in the job nearly
30 years. He enjoyed driving, especially since his wife had died as it gave him
purpose and meaning to get up in the mornings.
Over time life had crept up on him. He had well-controlled mild
hypertension, was a bit overweight, and was on tablets for type 2 diabetes. He
was compliant with all his diabetes checks at his GP surgery and had undergone
a diabetes education programme at the time of diagnosis. So far there had not
been any issue that had impacted on his renewal of his Group 2 driving licence.
One day Dr G was given a letter by her practice manager. It was
from the DVLA asking for a M2V form to be completed on Mr Y. This form asked various
questions about his diabetes. Dr G did not know Mr Y but the practice manager
insisted it would be a “quick job…being a short form…mainly tick boxes”. As the
practice had had the form for a couple of weeks, Dr G knew she needed to
complete it post-haste. At the end of a long and complicated clinic, a rather
distracted, tired Dr G finally got round to phoning Mr Y to complete the form. It
was then sent off some days later.
After a few weeks Mr Y received a letter from the DVLA
revoking his licence. They stated they had received information that indicated
he was not able to demonstrate an understanding of the risks of hypoglycaemia. Because
of this, they had taken the immediate action regarding his licence. Mr Y had to
inform his employer he could not come into work.
Mr Y was very upset and wrote a letter of complaint to the
practice. He pointed out that when Dr G had questioned him, he had described clear
awareness and understanding of hypoglycaemia and its management. Dr G took the
time to review her completed form and could see her tick was really in the
wrong box. She then wrote a letter to the DVLA advising of her error and
stating Mr Y was able to demonstrate adequate hypoglycaemia awareness. There
was some administrative delay in the practice sending this letter.
Further weeks passed and Mr Y had not heard anything from
the DVLA. He approached the practice again, asking them to expedite the DVLA’s
review of his licence. He was frustrated and concerned about the financial
impact especially as he had, by now, had to take out a loan to cover bills. Dr
G wrote a further letter to the DVLA and followed it up with a phone call.
Some five months after Mr Y’s licence had been
revoked, the DVLA reinstated it and he was able to return to work.
Dr G approached Medical Protection as she had Claims
Protection cover at the time of the incident. On review of the facts, it was
quickly determined that this was a case that was not defensible as the wrong
box had been inadvertently ticked on the DVLA form. It was a simple human error
but unfortunately an error nonetheless. Whilst Dr G had made several attempts
to correct the information with the DVLA, there had also been administrative
delays at the practice, which had hampered rectification.
Mr Y was requested to provide proof of his
monthly earnings, the loan arrangements and interest, and receipts for the
additional transport he had used during the period his licence had been
revoked. A small uplift was added for the distress and inconvenience incurred. The
claim was settled for a small sum.