Long post warning! Be careful what you agree to!
As mentioned elsewhere on here, I had a small stroke at the end of February; I was in hospital for 2 nights/3 days. Everyone was really really good.The physical and psychological effects for me were slight and physically recovered quickly, (psychological effects ongoing). I know I am very fortunate compared to how some suffer and I am very grateful that it wasn’t worse.
At discharge it was suggested that I could, if I wanted, go on a driving assessment, which I would have to pay for as it is organised through a charity, but there would probably be a waiting list Thinking this sounded like a good idea I agreed. I specifically asked the consultant how long I should refrain from driving and he said one month and this was shown on my discharge letter. When I got home I phoned the next day to arrange the assessment, about an 8 week wait, and I booked in (at a cost to me of £60).
Imagine my surprise then when I was seen at home by a physiotherapist and informed that I shouldn’t drive until I’d had the driving assessment. I queried this with them and was told that I could be seen by an occupational therapist (OT) who could do a cognitive check and report back to my GP and/or the Consultant who could then say if it was alright for me to drive after one month.
I was seen the next week by the OT on the Monday (easily passed the cognitive test) and I arranged for a telephone appointment at my GP’s. Obviously I had to explain it all again to the receptionist and GP. The outcome from that was a confused response as the GP didn’t seem to understand and didn’t seem to want to take responsibility and I’ m sure she said that DVLA advice was not to drive for 6 months after a stroke.
I went on the DVLA site and found that wasn’t the case and essentially if it’s only one TIA and you’re OK after a month then it’s OK to drive.
I was eventually sent a copy of a letter from the OT to my GP asking the GP to discuss driving with me, which had already happened, and was noncommittal as mentioned, (probably because I hadn’t had a face to face appointment).
I had the driving assessment yesterday (East Anglian Driveability). The lady and chap were very nice; again I explained what had happened and they were surprised when I told them I had been driving and only stopped driving for the month after the stroke as advised in writing by the consultant on my discharge letter. I went through the assessment - more cognitive testing and then a 40 minute driving assessment. Again all OK and I will get a letter/report on the ‘results’; they emphasise it is not a test, but an assessment. I think a copy goes to my GP. They do not advise DVLA where someone is clearly fit to drive.
In hindsight I just wish I hadn’t agreed to have the assessment when I had been lead to believe it was optional. So be careful what you agree to!