Dr Mary Stevenson has joined the Board of Welsh Driving Assessment Service following the charity’s work to ensure she could get back behind the wheel after suffering a stroke.
During her rehabilitation, Mrs Stevenson employed the services of one of the Mobility and Driving Assessment Service centres so that she could learn to drive again and regain confidence on the road.
The Wales Mobility and Driving Assessment Service is a registered charity whose main office is based at Rookwood Hospital in Cardiff and is an accredited member of Driving Mobility, an umbrella organisation made up of twenty member centres offering professional information, advice and driving assessments to people seeking independent mobility.
All centres are staffed by occupational therapists as well as approved driving instructors so that safety for drivers with injuries, disabilities or restricted mobility is maximised.
As well as conducting assessments on behalf of the DVLA, Motability and health professionals such as doctors, occupational therapists and physiotherapists, driving mobility also accept self-referrals.
Mrs Stevenson was 37 and working as a hospital consultant specialising in Genitourinary Medicine and AIDS in Birmingham, when a dangerous operation on a brain aneurysm led to a stroke.
She spent the next few weeks on ventilation before being moved to Hillcrest Hospital in Birmingham for three months of rehabilitation.
During this time Mrs Stevenson notified the DVLA of her change in circumstances and she had to return her license and was unable to drive.
Four years ago, Mrs Stevenson and her husband moved to Anglesey and she made a New Year’s Eve resolution to learn to drive again. An online search highlighted Driving Mobility and she contacted her nearest centre, The Wales Mobility and Driving Assessment Service.
Mrs Stevenson said: “They really held my hand throughout the whole process. I was assessed by an occupational therapist to ascertain my abilities and driving requirements and then Gary Jones, the centre manager, accompanied me for a drive in an automatic car. As I can only use one hand, the car had a steering knob fitted with secondary controls so I could use all controls safely and independently. After a few hours, I left with a full plan of action advised by the centre.”
Mary now drives a Seat Ibiza with a steering knob and Lodgesons secondary controls.