Background A major role of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is to ensure drivers with various medical conditions drive safely. It has therefore set guidelines which specify restrictions applicable for various conditions. It remains the duty of patients to notify the DVLA of medical conditions potentially affecting driving. However, some might be unaware of this obligation or reluctant to comply. In such cases, the General Medical Council (GMC) advises doctors to ascertain that patients understand their condition affect their ability to drive safely and that they are legally bound to inform the DVLA. However, data on awareness of restrictions applicable to Cardiac patients amongst doctors are lacking.
Aim The aim of the study was to assess the awareness of driving restrictions affecting Cardiology patients amongst General Medical and Emergency Physicians involved in their care during their hospital stay.
Methods Seventy-five questionnaires were distributed to General Medical and Emergency physicians of all grades currently working at York Hospital involved in the care of Cardiology patients. A multiple choice questionnaire containing nine questions was designed. Each question consisted of a common Cardiology clinical problem with four possible driving restrictions listed. Responders were asked to identify the correct driving restriction applicable to each clinical scenario. The data collection process was anonymous.
Results Fifty-three clinicians (70.6%) responded to our survey questionnaire. Each responder scored 1 mark for a correct answer, maximum attainable being 9 marks. The mean score of all the responders was 3.6 (range 0–8). Knowledge across the clinical scenarios varied. The two scenarios with the least correct response were the ones relating to new-onset atrial fibrillation with a rate-control strategy (4 out of 53) and regular narrow-complex tachycardia successfully cardioverted with adenosine (8 out of 53).
Conclusion The awareness of DVLA guidance applicable to Cardiology patients amongst General Medical and Emergency physicians was inadequate. Notably, in the case of restrictions applicable to patients presenting with atrial fibrillation or narrow-complex tachycardia, which can be a minimum of 4 weeks for either condition, knowledge was remarkably poor. This is of particular significance as these patients might not necessarily be seen by the Cardiology Team due to a short and uneventful inpatient stay and thus be discharged without appropriate driving advice. General and Emergency physicians need to be more aware of driving restrictions for conditions whereby patients are likely to be discharged following a short stay without inpatient specialist input.
- driving restrictions
- atrial fibrillation
- regular narrow-complex tachycardia