A survey of 58 patients with alcohol dependence was carried out to ascertain how much knowledge such patients have about the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) regulations. Patients completed a questionnaire about whether they follow DVLA regulations, what information health professionals had given to them and whether they would still seek treatment if they knew doctors might inform the DVLA.
The majority of patients surveyed were continuing to drive. Very few had any knowledge of DVLA regulations regarding alcohol dependence. With the knowledge that doctors have a duty to notify the DVLA in certain circumstances, a significant proportion said they would be less likely to seek treatment or would stop attending for treatment.
Health professionals may be avoiding discussions of the DVLA regulations with patients suffering from alcohol dependence in an attempt to preserve the doctor–patient relationship.
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