Driving. Dementia. Decisions. 

General Practice is the greatest vocation there is. Every day GPs are proud to use their skills and training to help their patients have better health and better lives. It’s incredibly rewarding for us and our patients (and the statistics!) show that it’s rewarding full stop.  

Recently, Dr Tim Senior answered the question ‘Do we even need Doctors?‘. He concluded that GPs ‘know what to do when we don’t know what to do. And I can’t think of any other profession we can say that about’. So let’s have a look at a topic where GPs have to make hard decisions when we don’t know what we have to do. 

Big Australia!

Australia has an aging population and Australia is big. Really big! Driving and Australia go together like Vegemite and Toast! What do we do when aging drivers see their GP and we make a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment or Dementia?

What are the GP’s responsibilities?

Here is the excellent Dr Genevieve Yates with a very personal and professional view on the matter. 

Here is another excellent video from Professor Joe Ibrahim. 

In South Australia we have clear(er) guidelines on Fitness to Drive, with Mandatory Reporting and the associated safeguards for GPs who report patients they believe to be impaired. It’s still a hard decision. For example, just look at Kate Swaffer who has been diagnosed with dementia. What would you do?

Tough Decisions

What would I do? I’m not sure. Every patient is different and that’s one of the reasons why General Practice is, as I said above, the best vocation in the world. GPs will keep learning every day of their professional lives to serve their patients better. My advice to patients is to See Your GP, your best source of information, advice, and support for all of those hard decisions, when you don’t know what to do. 

We’re Here to Help. 

Here to Help

NEW: We can now refer for sub-specialist driving assessments!

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