Poor knowledge of DVLA safety guidelines among hospital doctors in England

Jack Woodfield
Wed, 14 Oct 2015
Poor knowledge of DVLA safety guidelines among hospital doctors in England
A survey finds that there is inadequate knowledge among doctors in England of DVLA guidelines relating to medical conditions, such as diabetes.

Five centres across England were involved in a nationwide study led by Dr. Ka Ying Bonnie Ng, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. 140 UK doctors were questioned.

The questionnaires were designed from DVLA guidelines, and included five questions each on neurology, cardiology, drug and alcohol abuse, visual, and respiratory disorders.

DVLA guidelines are devised so people with medical conditions drive safely. People with diabetes who are treated with insulin need to inform the DVLA about their condition, and update them with any changes to their diabetes, such as the onset of complications.

The median overall questionnaire score was 28 per cent, and knowledge of DVLA guidelines was considered low. Only 21 per cent knew how long a patient must stop driving for following a stroke, while less than 40 per cent how long a patient should not drive for after a first episode of epileptic seizure.

The presence of an acute or chronic medical condition, such as diabetes, increases the risk of an individual being involved in accident. According Dr. Ng, awareness of driving restrictions for common medication conditions needs to be increased among hospital doctors.

"The risk of patients being involved in serious accidents decreases significantly if they are warned in hospital that they may be unfit to drive. This is a serious and widespread problem with a simple and effective solution," said Dr. Ng.

"Doctors must inform patients about the impact of their medical conditions on their legal status as drivers and encourage them to inform the DVLA."

This study was published by JRSM Open.
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