A PENSIONER says he is struggling to cope after losing his driving licence, leaving him unable to take his wife, who has dementia, to hospital appointments and on trips out.

Geoffrey Toms, 86, from Uley, had his licence revoked after he was involved in an incident on the road.

Mr Toms was accused of not driving carefully enough when passing horses, which he denies, and although he was found not to be at fault, his licence was taken away.

He was told that to have his licence reinstated he must retake his driving test in Bristol.

Mr Toms is the main carer for his wife, Diane, 82, who has dementia, and says he would find travelling to Bristol difficult.

“I asked if I could take the test in Gloucester, but I was told I couldn’t,” he told the Gazette.

Last week he paid to be assessed by recognised driving trainer, Ken Buchanan, who rated Geoffrey’s performance as ‘a safe, smooth drive’.

“I phoned the DVLA and asked if this test would be recognised by them,” said Geoffrey.

“They told me they will be able to let me know within two months.”

Geoffrey says his car is a lifeline for him and Diane, who live on a rural country lane, and that without it they are stuck in the house and dependent on others.

“My licence was withdrawn in April so we have been without transport since then.

“My wife can’t walk very far. When we had the car we went to Lidl every morning, where Diane was able to walk on the flat surface of the supermarket aisles with a trolley in front of her.

“We also used to go out for a drive every afternoon. Diane liked that. But now we’re cooped up in the house.

“Our daughters have been really helpful, but they’re working and have busy lives.

“I haven’t got long left to live, relatively speaking, and this time is precious for Diane and me.”

He added: “I don’t mind retaking the test, but I don’t understand why I can’t do it locally, or why they can’t tell me straight away whether or not the test I paid for will be recognised.

“I’m surprised at the way I’ve been treated by the DVLA, and disappointed to find that they treat older people in this way.”

Mr Toms added: “I’ve got a car that’s taxed and MOT’d that’s just sitting out there because I can’t drive it – it’s not fair.”

A spokesman for the DVLA said: “While we will not comment on the specific case, it may be helpful if I explain that each application reapplying for a driving licence is considered on a case-by-case basis and we would consider any evidence the applicant provides to show they meet the medical standards to hold a licence.

"In some cases a driver may be referred for a driving assessment – this includes an assessment of the driver’s cognitive processes which is undertaken by clinicians and is a different process to a driving test.

“Following the report being returned to DVLA we would then make an evidenced decision whether or not we could issue a licence.

“I can also confirm that while there is an assessment centre in Bristol there is no assessment centre in Gloucester.”