Did you know that doctors can report patients they believe are unfit to drive without telling them first, under tougher new guidance that comes into force recently?

The General Medical Council

The General Medical Council (GMC) has told GPs they no longer have to seek patients’ consent to contact the authorities, if they do not feel it is “safe or practicable to do so”.

Family doctors are already obliged to inform the DVLA if they believe their patient is medically incapable of safe driving, however this must only take place after exhausting all efforts to persuade patients to make the disclosure themselves.

GPs and families of patients both have key roles in convincing drivers when they need to hang up their keysEdmund King, president of the AA

Recently Published Rules

The new rules, published recently, mean elderly drivers may find themselves banned without having ever discussed their capacity directly with a doctor.

The document comes a month after a government adviser said the system relied too heavily on the honesty of patients and the discretion of GPs and called for a legal, as well as regulatory, duty to inform the DVLA.

The campaign for a so-called “Poppy’s law” follows the death of three-year-old Poppy-Arabella Clarke, who was killed last year by a 73-year-old motorist who had ignored opticians’ warnings not to drive and was not wearing his glasses at the time.

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