How to navigate the rocky road of a London taxi medical

Renewing your taxi license in London is always a daunting task however, when reaching the age of 50, it can become even more daunting due to the fact that you are then required to undertake a medical.

It needs to be recognised that the medical is no different to that of a bus drivers medical, in fact if you are qualified as a bus driver as well as a taxi driver you may even be exempt from the medical due to the fact that you may have already passed a medical. 

It also needs to be remembered that Transport for London are not trying to make life difficult when undertaking a medical, it is standard procedure and the questions are very straightforward. The TfL medical examination makes sure that you are medically fit to carry fare-paying passengers.

As a large amount of a driver’s time would be spent behind the wheel, TfL need to ensure that a licensed taxi driver is medically fit to do so via its' medical examination procedures. TfL use standards they specify for a DVLA Group 2 licence (Large good vehicles and buses) which are notably higher because there must be a specific set of rules for drivers that are employed behind a wheel. The Medical Declaration form (TPH/204) must be handed to your GP, the GP must have full access to your medical history. It is wise to book to see the GP well in advance, as soon as you get the form, which is sent at least 28 days before your birthday. The form must be returned to TfL within 28 days. It is advised to always keep a copy of the report and send the document by registered post, the GP does not always keep a copy themselves. Transport for London will allow a little time over the 28 days, if the driver lets them know that there may be a delay. GP waiting lists are erratic and there can sometimes be a long wait for an appointment. The GP can do the optical examination if they are equipped to do so, otherwise you must go to Optician, ensure that the optician dates and stamps the relevant section of form, this is very important. Whilst awaiting a GP appointment, it may be prudent to get the eye-test completed first, to reduce any delays. If TfL require further information, ensure that it is provided as soon as possible, so as to avoid a licence suspensiin or revocation. TfL do not look to arbitarily suspend licences however, if they do not get back information that they require, they are perfectly within their rights to do so. The process has recently been subject to a tightening up of criteria, particularly surrounding heart and eyesight conditiions. The areas assessed within the medical are as follows:

  • cardiovascular

  • endocrine system

  • musculoskeletal

  • neurological

  • psychiatric

  • vision

Medicals are performed at ages 50, 56, 62 and then 65, after that point an annual medical is required. There are some applicants who are exempt from completing a medical form if they

  • Hold a DVLA Group 2 licence (full or a provisional licence issued since January 1998)

  • Have an active application with TfL, have completed our medical and are under the age of 45

  • Active applicants or existing licensees must have a medical exam if over the age of 45 and the last medical was done more than three years ago, or you're subject to providing an age-related medical.

The TfL medical report is not free and your GP can charge from £80-£150. This is an unavoidable cost unless you are exempt, it is also worth remembering that the eyesight test will also incur a fee. If in any doubt about sny aspects of your medical form, always contact your ttade organisation for further advice.
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