Assessing a patient’s fitness to drive

Sufferers should report back to the licensing authority themselves if they’ve medical situations that might have an effect on their potential to drive.

They warn John in regards to the dangers of driving, particularly at night time whereas awaiting cataract surgical procedure. He says he has to drive to take care of his aged dad and mom. PATRICK CLANCY outlines your job duties.

Well being practitioners usually report conflicts when assessing sufferers’ health to drive. On the one hand, you have got an obligation to guard the general public when a affected person might endanger others by way of unsafe driving. Alternatively, you’re obligated to affected person confidentiality and may be involved in regards to the impression on their well-being in the event that they lose their license.

It may be very tough to navigate in such conditions. Key methods are:

• preserve an expert distance

• Take note of the affected person’s stress

• Begin early to speak about driving with sufferers with progressive illness.

Affected person Accountability

Sufferers should self-report to regulators if they’ve medical situations that might have an effect on their potential to drive, together with imaginative and prescient issues comparable to cataracts.

Skilled obligation to warn of risks

dr Patrick Clancy

On this scenario, step one would at all times be to speak to the affected person about your evaluation and issues.

Sufferers can concentrate on why they should drive, what kind of driving they are going to have interaction in, and the price of not with the ability to drive. You will have an expert duty to warn them of the dangers. Meaning it’s essential give your sufferers clear steerage when long-term or short-term well being issues, disabilities, or therapies might have an effect on their potential to drive and pose dangers to themselves or others.

This dialogue can be essential as a result of a affected person’s consciousness of their situation and their potential to handle or adapt to will probably be components in figuring out their eligibility for a conditional license.

It’s also essential that you just doc this dialog and your session within the affected person’s medical document. It’s also essential that details about health to drive is shared between a affected person’s healthcare staff. This may increasingly imply together with your evaluation and dialogue in your report back to the affected person’s GP.

The Queensland Coroner addressed that requirement in a current investigation right into a deadly accident involving a girl with insulin-dependent diabetes who was discovered match to drive. The affected person had reported a suicide try after her license had beforehand been revoked. The coroner acknowledged the steadiness concerned in sustaining a therapeutic relationship, which may make it tough to deal with delicate points head-on. Nonetheless, the coroner stated there was no proof the girl’s docs had spoken to her about her health to drive.

Clear tips

We typically advise physicians to determine a observe guideline for assessing health to drive. A guidelines of standards and clear steps to observe may also help you keep goal. It may possibly make it simpler so that you can empathize with the affected person whereas assembly your authorized {and professional} duties.

It may possibly additionally aid you to elucidate to the affected person the areas that you’re involved about.

See for additional evaluation

If the evaluation is unclear, the affected person could also be referred for a specialist evaluation or for a proper driving take a look at. Sufferers might proceed to drive with situations on their license or could also be topic to periodic well being checks.

Report your issues

Not like transient medical situations that have an effect on a affected person’s potential to drive (e.g., sedation), physicians might have an obligation to report ongoing medical situations.

In South Australia and the Northern Territory, legislation requires healthcare professionals to report back to regulatory authorities in the event that they consider a affected person they’re inspecting might endanger the general public by driving with an harm, sickness or incapacity.

In different jurisdictions, physicians have been the topic of complaints after they have did not report important impairments to the state or territorial licensing board. All jurisdictions have legal guidelines defending healthcare practitioners from civil or legal legal responsibility for making such a report back to a regulatory company in good religion.


State and Territory Licensing Authorities have useful assets for sufferers. This may additionally assist present neutral details about the dangers of driving (to sufferers and others), affected person duties, and choices comparable to conditional licenses.

Further assets embrace:

Disclaimer: This text is meant to offer feedback and basic data. It doesn’t represent authorized or medical recommendation. You need to acquire authorized or different skilled recommendation earlier than counting on any Content material and train applicable scientific decision-making relating to your particular person circumstances.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: dr Patrick Clancy is a senior medical advisor on the advocacy, training and analysis staff at avant. He has been a physician for over 25 years and was beforehand a member of a state medical affiliation. Patrick has lectured and written extensively on medical legislation matters, with a concentrate on minimizing the dangers physicians face.

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