Driving and dementia

This week someone sent me an article published in the Telegraph on Tuesday. It included comments by a Gp who basically wants the DVLA to review their process for allowing those with dementia to drive or not to drive.

I found his comments offensive. For a Gp to express an opinion using the these words shows how much work there is still left to do with clinicians:

Dr Peter Holden, the GP who tabled the motion, said that under present arrangements only family doctors were in a position to stop dementia sufferers potentially “mowing down” pedestrians and other road users.

and

“You know what the rate of increase of dementia is, you only need three or four dementia sufferers out on the road, would you like one out with a shotgun?”

A diagnosis of dementia doesn’t automatically mean you have to stop driving. Not everyone is affected in such a way as to warrant surrendering their licence. Yes the system does need to be reviewed as people need reassurance and clarity over driving as it is very vague at the moment but for a Gp to express his opinions in such a way is unprofessional and unhelpful.

I liked George McNamara, of the Alzheimer’s Society comment at the end of the article:

 “Scaremongering is not helpful in making rational decisions in this area. A dementia diagnosis is not in itself a reason to stop driving.”

Full article can be read at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/11692749/Dementia-drivers-as-dangerous-as-gunmen.html

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About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

One thought on “Driving and dementia

  1. Hi Wendy
    I also read the article in the Telegraph and while I agreed with much that was said I thought the language used by the GP was unhelpful in the extreme. I’ve posted the article on my facebook page with a comment about his use of the marauding gunman terminology

    “While I agree with much that is written in this article I strongly object to the language used. To compare a driver who has been diagnosed with dementia to a marauding gunman is offensive, inaccurate and just downright unhelpful. Somebody with dementia doesn’t get behind the wheel of a car with the intention of hurting anyone and the vast majority will relinquish their right to drive a car voluntarily, recognising that they are no longer well enough to cope with the complexities of modern day driving. A marauding gunman is bent on hurting as many people as he can in the time he has before he is forcibly stopped. SHAME ON YOU Dr Peter Holden. You, as a GP, should know better.
    http://www.facebook.com/jJoansDescent .

    Liked by 1 person

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