Doctors will be obliged under new guidelines to report patients who continue to drive even though they are not medically fit to do so. Elderly drivers are expected to be among those particularly affected as a result of the draft guidance from the General Medical Council (GMC), which described the issue as “difficult territory” for doctors.
The guidance states that GPs have to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if a patient is driving against medical advice.
As it stands doctors do not need a patient’s consent to inform the DVLA, which is legally responsible for deciding whether a person is medically fit to drive, when a patient has continued driving in such instances.
The strengthened advice obliging them to do so is part of a public consultation on the GMC’s core guidance on confidentiality. It aims to help doctors balance their legal and ethical duties of confidentiality with wider public protection responsibilities.