Objective: To determine whether doctors working in emergency departments are aware which of the common conditions seen have driving restrictions associated with them and whether they routinely advise patients of these restrictions.
Methods: 200 questionnaires were distributed to all grades of doctor currently working in 15 emergency departments in Wessex and the south west. The survey was anonymous so follow up of non-responders was not possible. Doctors were asked to indicate which of the 20 commonly seen conditions listed had DVLA guidelines restricting driving activity at least temporarily, and in which of these conditions they actually advised patients appropriately about their driving. In addition the MDU, GMC, and the Department of Transport web site were contacted to establish what they considered to be good medical practice regarding issuing advice about driving.
Results: 102 doctors (51%) responded to the survey. Knowledge regarding restrictions for various conditions varied, with 87.5% responding correctly about a first fit to only 7.8% regarding a collapse query cause. With regard to advising patients, 79.4% of doctors responding said that they routinely advised patients about stopping driving after a first fit, 32% advised patients after a single transient ischaemic attack, and only 7% after a collapse query cause.
Conclusions: Doctors working in emergency departments are aware of conditions that lead to an inpatient admission that have driving restrictions. However, knowledge of conditions where patients are likely to be discharged was not as complete and advice was less likely to be given to patients. Emergency department doctors need to be more aware of restrictions that apply to conditions where patients are to be discharged.
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