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Nurses must tell motorists about medication dangers

  • 12 Comments

Nurses must do more to warn patients on prescription drugs about the consequences of driving while medicated after a poll revealed more than one in 10 motorists said they did not know it was illegal.

The research has shown that one in 10 people admit their ability to drive is impaired after taking medication and 3% of motorists say they have been involved in an accident or a near miss while driving under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

A third of those questioned say they regularly take medicines and drive.

The poll of drivers carried out by road safety expert GEM Motoring Assist, has led them to develop a new leaflet to raise awareness of the issues associated with driving whilst affected by prescription medicines.

The leaflet, which is supported by Resident GP of ITV’s This Morning Dr Chris Steele MBE, answers questions and offers guidance on being aware of how medication can affect our driving and that it is actually illegal to drive when taking certain medicines.

Dr Chris said: “In some circumstances driving while impaired by medication can be as dangerous as ‘drink driving’. I strongly support the advice given in this leaflet that drivers taking medicine should always check with their doctor or pharmacist before they drive.”

  • 12 Comments

Readers' comments (12)

  • >should always check with their doctor or pharmacist before they drive.

    Whenever the NMC stipulate it or universities start to teach the relevant pharmacology to nurses at more than Bill and Ben level then I'll start handing out advice about drugs.

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  • Having read this, it should be the SOLE responsibility of the Pharmacist that is handing over the take home script to the patient to ensure that the patient is aware of the side effects etc .
    Nurses should not have to take on an added responsibility of educating patients on take home scripts.
    Wether the script is ordered by a GP, discharge script or opd script, it still should be the responsibility of the pharmacist handing over the script to the patient, and not the nurse.
    Maybe nurses in UK do have to give patients take home drugs which would have the need for pt education, Im not sure . Here in Melbourne, its the job of the Pharmacist to give out all take home scripts and information which is relevant. All we have to do is make sure the Pharmacist has seen pt with discharge meds.

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  • nurses cannot know every drug that is prescribed. If they are to give the patient their take home meds then the pharmacist should inform the nurse of any adverse effects or at the very least put an alert note on the package so that nurses can follow this up prior to giving the patient their meds.

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  • A nurse does not see every patient who has a prescription; what a ridiculous comment! Absolutely agree that the prescriber should have the main responsibility, it should be reinforced by the pharmacist and a nurse SHOULD THE PATIENT SEE ONE and also the patient should take some responsibility and read the package insert.
    Remove one broom guys before you insert yet another!

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  • Given the BNF stipulates what advice labels a pharmacist should put on each dispensed drug, including the 'may affect concentration. If affected do not drive or operate heavy machinery'-type one, I agree whoever is giving the patient their meds should be aware of & highlight these warnings, but as Susie says, that's not always a nurse. In community it's likely to be a pharmacist/dispensing technician (esp over the counter meds) or even a van driver in these days of home delivery.

    A prescriber (whichever profession) needs to be aware of what the patient does (work, driving etc) to take into consideration as part of their prescribing decision/discussing choices with patient.

    ....I've just read the leaflet referred to - nurses aren't mentioned. Where did this headline come from NT?

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  • Absolutely agree with the above comments. If things continue in this vein, I'll be expecting trusts to start paying me a Doctors wage and a Pharmacists wage on top of my own! I mean how many peoples jobs are we expected to do?

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  • Who's written this tripe?

    The linked article comments on George Michael and his current habits, a TV Dr. and somehow the author translates this into 'Nurses must......blah, blah, arghhh!'

    It's this kind of delusional thinking, wrong assumption and assignation of responsibility that is killing nursing.

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  • Anonymous | 17-Sep-2010 5:42 pm It's Nursing Times, not always the best source of journalism at the best of times. It's a bit of fun but is still basically the Sun or Mirror tabloid version of any other Nursing news or journal. Take with a pinch of salt and do further research if necessary is the standard stance for most of these articles.

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  • cannot agree more with all of the above statements, when will people realise that nurses can only do so much,and yes it is a prescribers responsibily to inform a patient of side effects of drugs, maybe they would like us to spend our free time! standing at supermarket counters telling people the dangers of taking drugs whilst driving. Honestly what next.

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  • Somebody I know was given a provisional driving license by dvla, knowing they were taking antipsychotics and anti depressants. Passed the driving test on these meds, been driving for 5 yrs, still on meds and no accidents. Surely DVLA would know what is legal, the driving license application went through a medical board before it was granted!!

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