There has been an “explosion” in demand among HGV drivers for D4 medicals, with waiting times increasing and adding another obstacle to resolving the driver crisis.

GP’s network D4 Drivers said it was trying to handle up to 9,000 professional driver appointments a month and it was attempting to recruit extra doctors to meet demand.

However, it warned that with strikes also taking place at the DVLA at a time when the licensing agency was also battling a paperwork backlog, it was adding up to be “a recipe for disaster”.

Last year the government relaxed the medical requirement of the licence renewal process, in order that doctors and nurses could focus resources on Covid-19.

The suspension remains in place; however, the DVLA has asked GPs to prioritise medicals for HGV drivers.

Tom Blain, commercial manager at D4 Drivers, said: “There are now more drivers than ever trying to book their medical all at once.

“To give this some context, we were seeing around 5,500 drivers a month up until April.

“In May we saw over 7,000 and in June we are up over 9,000.

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“We are taking urgent action to ramp up availability and recruit additional doctors, however as you can imagine we cannot do this quickly enough to match the rate at which demand is increasing.”

Blain said the knock on effect would be keeping drivers off the roads: “When you also factor in the DVLA strikes, and the delays that DVLA were operating with even before those strikes, I think this is a recipe for disaster,” he said.

“Add to this the severe driver shortage which is being widely reported and you have a real mess.”

The PCS union said the drivers medical division of the DVLA would be affected by strike action over Covid-19 safety concerns on 2 July.

A DVLA spokeswoman said it was “disappointing” that the PCS union was continuing with its strike action and that it was targeting services that would have the greatest negative impact on the public.

The spokeswoman said: “We have been negotiating in good faith and will continue to do so with the aim of finding a workable solution.

“The safety of our staff is paramount and since the beginning of the year we have implemented weekly Covid testing for everyone.

She added: “Millions of people right across the UK are relying on essential DVLA services and PCS’s demands will cause significant and unnecessary disruption to families and businesses, all at a time when they are most needed.”