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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Should healthcare professionals breach confidentiality when a patient is unfit to drive?

Daniel Sokol
The British Medical Journal
2017;356:j1505

Here are two excerpts:

The General Medical Council (GMC) has guidance on reporting concerns to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Doctors should explain to patients deemed unfit to drive that their condition may affect their ability to drive and that they—the patients—have a legal obligation to inform the DVLA about their condition.

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The trouble with this approach is that it relies on patients’ honesty. As far back as Hippocratic times, doctors were instructed to look out for the lies of patients. Two and a half thousand years later the advice still holds true. In a 1994 study on 754 adult patients, Burgoon and colleagues found that 85% admitted to concealing information from their doctors, and over a third said that they had lied outright. Many patients will lie to avoid the loss of their driving licence. They will falsely promise to inform the DVLA and to stop driving. And the chances of the doctor discovering that the patient is continuing to drive are slim.

The article is here.
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