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DVLA reporting

Possible stations

  • An epileptic patient has agreed not to drive but a nurse saw him parking today before his review
  • A heavy goods vehicle driver has had a seizure and you must break the news regarding driving restrictions
  • A patient who presented with a seizure is now being discharged: you must speak to them about lifestyle changes
  • A relative is concerned about a patient who has an ‘alcohol problem’ and is driving

Phrases to help you

  • ‘Safety precautions’
  • ‘The tablets don’t guarantee your safety and the safety of others if you are driving.’
  • ‘Have you been able to follow the advice given to you with regards to driving?’
  • ‘If you drive you will be breaking the law and your insurance will not be valid.’

Aims of the station

  • Show that you can be firm but also sympathetic and non-judgemental 
  • Address the patient’s concerns and pick up on their cues
  • Use a ‘breaking bad news’ approach
  • Clearly communicate the importance of not driving
  • You may need to be firm with them – how would they feel if they had a seizure at the wheel and harmed/killed their own family or other people?
  • Offer solutions to the patient’s problems or sources of help if you have any (if not, just listen and empathise)
  • Know the DVLA rules

The DVLA rules

  • The rules differ for normal licences and heavy goods vehicle licences (includes taxis, buses, lorries, large vehicles). Below are some example restrictions but many other conditions also require the patient to inform the DVLA.
  • If a patient drives after being advised not to, their insurance is invalid and they are breaking the law

Some important conditions with driving restrictions

 Normal licenceHeavy goods vehicle licence
DiabetesMust meet certain criteria to drive (depends on hypoglycaemia episodes, hypoglycaemia awareness, glucose monitoring and complications)Must meet certain criteria to drive (depends on hypoglycaemia episodes, hypoglycaemia awareness, glucose monitoring and complications)
First unprovoked seizure6 months 5 years 
Other seizure1 year10 years
Stroke/TIA1 month*1 year
Unexplained syncope6 months1 year
MI treated with stent1 week*6 weeks (but need tests)
Alcohol misuse6 months (of controlled drinking/abstinence)1 year (of controlled drinking/abstinence)
Alcohol dependence1 year (free of alcohol-related problems)3 years (free of alcohol-related problems)

*Do not need to inform DVLA if no residual symptoms (all others need to inform DVLA)

If the patient refuses to comply

  • It is the doctor’s duty to advise the patient that they are not allowed to drive; that if they do they will be breaking the law and their insurance will be invalidated; and advise them they need to inform the DVLA
  • If the patient refuses and says they will continue driving, involve senior and have multiple conversations
  • If they still insist, you can break confidentiality and inform the DVLA (you must tell the patient you are doing this)
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