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Agenda item

Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Licensing - Drivers'/Applicants' Medical Referrals Policy

Report of the Chief Licensing Officer



The Chief Licensing Officer submitted a report reviewing the current policy on the arrangements made for the frequency and standards of medicals for new applicants and current licensed drivers and on the arrangements for conducting driver medicals in the future.




In attendance for this item were Clive Stephenson, Principal Licensing Officer and Peter Davies, Aftab Ahmed and M. Yasin (GMB Trade Union Representatives), Hafeas Rehman, Z. Ahmed and M. Nisar (Sheffield Taxi Trade Association).




Clive Stephenson presented the report and outlined the current situation relating to the carrying out and frequency of medicals for drivers.  He said that the current policy had been in place for five years, so it was now up for review.




Peter Davies referred to the comments made by Dr. Gill as set out in Appendix 3 of the report and expressed his disappointment that Dr. Gill had not attended the meeting as he would have liked to have had an opportunity to discuss with him his comments.  Peter Davies added that he had carried out a survey amongst members of the Trade Union and the outcome had been that there was a strong feeling that the current system is adequate and any change will place another financial burden on them.




Hafeas Rehman stated that he was not aware of any taxi drivers being taken ill whilst driving and that the issue was all about cost to the drivers and the financial gain to GPs.  Hafeas Rehman believed that generally taxi drivers are much healthier these days and that perhaps a health awareness campaign might be helpful.




In response to questions from Members, Clive Stephenson stated that when a driver is taken ill, the only information received by the Licensing Service is whether the driver is “fit for work” or “not fit for work”, because, due to patient confidentiality, no details of the illness can be passed on.  He added that in his experience, only a small number of drivers had been found unfit for work and  medical histories are kept on record.  Clive Stephenson went on to add that the age group of drivers was dropping.  A few years ago, the average age group was around 40 plus, now drivers tends to be in their 20’s.




In response to further questions, Clive Stephenson stated that the Council have a list of doctors who conduct medicals to Group II DVLA standards.  The DVLA document contains 40 pages and checks are carried out to vision, diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease etc.  He added that during the past 20 years, only five drivers at the age of 45 or over had been suspended from driving following a  referral from a doctor.  He further added that medical examinations could not be carried out “in-house” as they had to be conducted by a fully qualified doctor.




RESOLVED: That the public and press and attendees be excluded from the meeting before further discussion takes place on the grounds that, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, if those persons were present, there would be a disclosure to them of exempt information as described in paragraph 5 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.




The Solicitor to the Committee reported orally giving legal advice on various aspects of the report.




At this point in the proceedings, the meeting was re-opened to the public and press and attendees.




RESOLVED: That, following consideration of the report now submitted, the Committee:-




(a) agreed to introduce the following new measures:-




(i)         due to the fact that all new applicants have to pass a medical before being granted a licence, on renewal of their licence, the drivers be requested to fill out a health declaration form which states that as far as they are aware, they are medically fit to drive;




(ii)        that if a driver falls ill, it will be the responsibility of the driver to inform the Licensing Service, within 14 days, of the illness; and




(b) requested officers to carry out a more detailed consultation on this matter with other Local Authorities and submit their findings to a meeting of this Committee in six months’ time.


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