Advising DVLA about Arrhythmia

There seems to have been some misunderstandings in this area in the past. But perhaps DVLA have updated their website recently. It now says the following:

You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving. You may be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result.

The key words are '...that affects your driving...' so if it does NOT affect your driving you do not need to use Form H1 to inform DVLA. Am I correct in my understanding?

Tony.

17 Replies

oldestnewest
  • No sorry you are not. Under advice to drivers it lists all conditions which need to be advised and AF is one of them. It also tells you that driving may continue if it does not incapacitate. The confusion arises because under advise to medical practitioners it does not require THEM to report it. Failure to report it can also invalidate your insurance.

    What makes it doubly stupid is that the first question on page one is NO and after that the rest of the form is N/A but we still need to jump through the hoops.

    This is such an old chestnut but a dangerous one to ignore.

    Bob

  • Bob, this is obviously a complete nonsense.

    The DVLA need to revise and clarify their wording.

    Is there any chance your contacts at AFA can flag this up with senior officials at the DVLA?

    My thoughts are the same as davegm. After a discussion with my GP i decided not to advise the DVLA of my condition but I did advise my insurance company.

    John

  • John at HRC last year one of the doctors was telling people you didn't need to advise until myself and others corrected him. He raised the same question as you and I offered to write for clarification.. In the end as Finvola suggested people at the top asked me not to in case it made matters worse. It is far better to just jump through hoops and fill in a useless form than risk losing your licence and getting a huge fine. It is actually quite simple if you understand the way they think. Doctors have to advise DVLA about a number of conditions. AF is not one of them. Drivers have much more responsibility to advise DVLA of a greater number of conditions and illnesses. The problem only comes when drivers read the doctor's section and not their own. I made the same mistake years ago until I was corrected.

    Bob

  • I seem to remember heart arrhythmia being listed as a notifiable condition somewhere in the bumf, but I agree it's all clear as mud. It is much safer to notify DVL and insurance company in writing for our own protection, even when in many cases we have not been told by our physicians to stop driving.

    Can't help wondering if official 'clarification' of H1 form might not make matters worse. :)

  • I've been through this thoroughly and although it seemed that in my case I did not need to advise them, not least of all because my EP said I didn't need to, I still did because it is a grey area.

    If you look at the web sites, it seems clear to me that you do not need to submit the form. But, if you speak to DVLA they were adamant that I did need to. I pointed out why I thought they were wrong, but they were absolutely adamant.

    Answer NO to the first question, if indeed that is the answer, but continue to fill in the form. Totally daft, but if you don't they will give you 30 days notice of your licence becoming invalid subject to receiving the form filled in.

    Personally, I could happily throttle them :-(

    Koll

  • I am a bit confused about all this which I know has all been discussed previously - so I had a look again at the DVLA website and answered the questions as they apply to me, honestly.

    "....................HEALTH CONDITIONS AND DRIVING

    You may need to tell DVLA if you have a driving licence and one of these health conditions. Having some of these conditions means you need to fill in a questionnaire or form. Select your condition to find out if this applies to you.

    MAY need....

    ARRYTHMIA AND DRIVING

    You must tell DVLA if you have arrhythmia and... IT AFFECTS YOUR DRIVING.

    You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving. You may be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident as a result.

    Car or motorcycle licence

    You need to tell DVLA about your arrhythmia if one of the following apply:

    YOU HAVE DISTRACTING AND DISABLING SYMPTOMS - NO

    YOUT ARRYTHMIA HAS CAUSED OR MAY CAUSE INCAPACITY - NO

    CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR if you don’t know if your arrhythmia affects your driving. - CHECKED AND NO PROBLEM

    YOU MUST TELL THE DVLA IF YOUR ARRYTHMAI AFFECTS YOUR DRIVING. Fill in form H1 - ‘Confidential medical information’ and send it to DVLA. The address is on the form. - IT DOESN'T - OR DIDNT EVEN WHEN I WAS GETTING SYMPTOMS PRIOR TO ABLATION

    FORM H1

    . Do you have any heart or heart related condition that your

    Doctor/Consultant has advised you to notify DVLA about? - NO

    If YES, what is the condition(s)?

    2. Has your heart condition caused any sudden and disabling

    dizziness or fainting within the last 12 months? - NO

    DD MM YY

    If YES, please give the date

    3. Do you currently have a pacemaker implanted? -NO

    DD MM YY

    If YES, please give the date the device was implanted.

    a) Was the pacemaker implanted to prevent sudden attacks of dizziness or fainting? - NOT APPLICABLE

    If YES:

    b) Have the attacks been controlled since the pacemaker was implanted? - NOT APPLICABLE

    I tend to think in answering the questions posed by the DVLA honestly that I do not need to inform them, but its got me thinking again!

  • Interesting comments. I have to notify DVLA that I have a pacemaker fitted now. I did have dizziness and fainting for the week prior but as I was in hospital during All this I was not in a position to be driving anyway. Before this all kicked off I was fine. Thinking of adding notes to this affect. When I had my previous pacemaker 24years ago it was much simpler I told them and they gave me a renewable driving licence for three year periods. When the pacemaker was no longer required I got a full driving licence back.

  • Thank you everyone for this discussion. My confusion has arisen because no insurance company has been at all concerned when I have told them and have never refused me car insurance.. Also I have had AF for such a long time I can't remember if I have ever told the dvla! I will certainly complete the form to make sure. Thanks. Anne

  • Davegm, I started to complete the details. The thing is if the gp and cardio are not informing us to contact dvla then we wouldn't be aware of it. It's only by being on this site we are hearing of it. I know of people with AF who are not on this site and know nothing of it. Like you have highlighted in t the form allot just does not apply. If it does affect your driving then tell them. I'm still on the fence with this Bob. Lives are hard enough without jumping through unnecessary hoops.

  • When I'm in AF I don't drive as I feel too ill.

  • Hi there. I`ve recently informed the DVLA about my AF - completed the H1 form and also sent accompanying letter stating that this condition did not affect my driving etc., I received their reply about three weeks later - confirming ok to drive. I then contacted my Insurance Company to update their records. They were happy with this, no extra payment required - simply logged information. Hope this helps. Dorothy

  • Hi all. My case with the driving licence will annoy you. Two year ago I had a cough syncope whilst driving, my car was a write off. Dvla got in touch with mevand that resulted in six months mandatory suspension. Fine, I could cope with that. Now, two years later I do not have My licence back because I am obese with health problems. I have to get down to bmi 25 or less before they will consider renewing my licence. Easier said than done. I've managed to loose 2 stone but have many more to go. Life can be so unfair sometimes.

  • Just carried out a bit more research, and cut and pasted the DVLA advice to professionals and the Patient .co.uk advice to professionals. they both confirn tat the DVLA do not need to be informed unless there are distracting/ disabling symptoms.

    I'm not certain how that would be defined but after an ablation with no symptoms I am reassured that I do not have to inform the DVLA.

    1. DVLA ADVICE TO PROFESSIONALS

    ARRYTHMIA

    Sinoatrial disease

    Significant atrio-ventricular conduction defect

    Atrial flutter/fibrillation

    Narrow or broad complex tachycardia

    (See also following sections - Pacemakers are considered separately).

    NB: Transient Arrhythmias occurring during acute coronary syndromes do not require assessment under this section.

    Group 1 entitlement ODL – car, motorcycle

    Driving must cease if the arrhythmia has caused or is likely to cause incapacity.

    Driving may be permitted when underlying cause has been identified and controlled for at least 4/52.

    DVLA need not be notified unless there are distracting/disabling symptoms.

    2. PATIENT.CO.UK WEBSITE ADVISE

    Arrhythmias and treatment

    CARDIOVASCULAR DISORDER

    GROUP 1 ENTITLEMENT

    ODL - CAR, M/CYCLE

    GROUP 2 ENTITLEMENT

    VOC - LGV / PCV (LORRY/BUS)

    ARRHYTHMIA

    Sinoatrial disease

    Significant atrio-ventricular conduction defect

    Atrial flutter/fibrillation

    Narrow or broad complex tachycardia

    (See also following Sections - Pacemakers are considered separately)

    NB: Transient Arrhythmias

    occurring during acute coronary syndromes do not require assessment under this Section

    Driving must cease if the arrhythmia has caused or is likely to cause incapacity.

    Driving may be permitted when underlying cause has been identified and controlled for at least 4/52.

    DVLA need not be notified unless there are distracting/disabling symptoms.

    Disqualifies from driving if the arrhythmia has caused or is likely to cause incapacity.

    Driving may be permitted when:

    The arrhythmia is controlled for at least 3/12.

    The LV ejection fraction is = to or >0.4.

    There is no other disqualifying condition.

    SUCCESSFUL CATHETER ABLATION

    Driving must cease for at least 2/7.

    Driving may be permitted thereafter provided there is no other disqualifying condition.

    DVLA need not be notified

    Following successful catheter ablation for an arrhythmia that has caused or would likely have caused incapacity, driving should cease for 6/52. Driving may recommence thereafter provided there is no other disqualifying condition.

    When the arrhythmia has not caused nor would likely have caused incapacity, driving may recommence after 2/52 provided there is no other disqualifying condition.

    PACEMAKER IMPLANT

    Includes box change

    Driving must cease for at least 1/52.

    Driving may be permitted thereafter provided there is no other disqualifying condition.

    Disqualifies from driving for 6/52.

    Re/licensing may be permitted thereafter provided there is no other disqualifying condition.

  • I am not a medic or a lawyer but here are my thoughts and findings. (I have had five years experience of working solely on litigation claims directly with / under lawyers but in an unrelated field).

    Don't get confused between the responsibilities professionals and individuals. Many professionals do!!!

    There are a few conditions where the PROFESSIONAL is obligated to report to the DVLA. In all these cases the individual has to notify AS WELL.

    However there are very many more conditions where ONLY the INDIVIDUAL has to report to DVLA. The professional is NOT obligated to highlight this to you. It is your responsibility to know and ignorance is NO defence.

    Many professionals tend to shy away from the "Individual" only reporting category because they don't want to get involved and be seen as the bad guy or stopper and also, from a liability point of view, if something happens (eg you are in an accident) they are less involved / incriminated!!!

    The times that you quote for not driving are a MINIMUM not an actual. In my case (without prompting at the consultation 9 weeks beforehand) my EP said that I was not to drive for 7 (SEVEN) days following my ablation (6.5 hours) so if I had driven after 4 days I would have been breaking the law and had NO INSURANCE even though that was longer than the DVLA's two days. I think that this is due to the fact that the two days is the recovery from the combination of the various drugs that are used during the procedure (eg the sedation drugs themselves, morphine, etc). Also if your heart is jumping around after the "no driving" period then you should NOT be driving.

    Also note that the number of days does NOT include the day of the procedure. Also it is an individual's responsibility to always ask not the professional's to give!!!

    I will put some general responses in another post.

  • Also costs. When the DVLA sends letters to Consultants and GPs they have to answer them at NO cost to the individual.

    If you want or need your consultant or GP to write in support of you (eg if police prosecute) then YOU have to pay those costs. You could have to spend out hundreds of pounds for this. A single letter could easily cost £250 (and I have seen / heard of much higher charges per letter).

  • Just a note, I THINK they have changed the wording on the web site. I'm pretty sure it was different before and more negative.

  • I am not a medic or a lawyer but here are my thoughts and findings. (I have had five years’ experience of working solely on litigation claims directly with / under lawyers but in an unrelated field).

    See my profile and the responses that I have previously given in other posts for a more detailed explanations, etc.

    Re the form itself, in my view, you must NOT stop at question 1 if you answer NO but fill in all the information (see my earlier posts).

    The key thing is that when you send the DVLA a form they HAVE TO act on it - they can't ignore it. By filling in the form you are transferring all the RESPONSIBILITIES and the COSTS to the DVLA AND the medical professionals and effectively setting a baseline which says you are OK on this date. This could be very useful in the event of an accident.

    I would always notify your insurance company even though they will say they are not interested or it does not affect. This could again be key in the event of an accident which may NOT be your fault. If you are unfortunate to be in an accident everything is taken out of the responsibility of the insurer's admin and monitoring staff and handed to claims. If your insurance company OR the other(s) insurance company's lawyer OR medical professional decides that you should have notified the DVLA they can argue that they have no liability for costs and hand the problem over to you. You may be able to counter argue (and win) but that will take you time and possibly a considerable amount of money before handing it back to them.

    If you haven’t notified the DVLA the police / DPP may often decide to prosecute and let the court decide whether you should or should not have notified the DVLA rather than take the responsibility themselves. This is very likely in the event that one or more others parties are involved as they won’t want the finger waved at them later on for doing nothing or deciding no need to. If you do notify the DVLA now they will send you a letter and log on their database which the police have access to. This may mean that the police / DPP decide not to prosecute. Retrospective notification is NOT allowed.

    Also note that any period specified by the DVLA is a MINIMUM and also does NOT include either the day of the procedure nor the day of starting to drive again (eg assuming that your medical professional has NOT specified a LONGER NO DRIVING period, if you have your ablation on a Monday then Thursday would be the first day of driving). It is your responsibility to check with your medical professional that a longer period does not apply.

    Another consideration of not reporting is will the medical professional be around (they could have retired, etc, etc) or have made detailed enough notes to write in support of you after an event? The Consultant or GP's practice may have a standard policy but they forgot to tell you - this could end up of your word against theirs.

    At the end of the day each individual has to make up their own mind and act accordingly and take responsibility!!!

    Don’t forget that (and like it or not) in the last 10 years we as a country have become much more litigious and will become more so again in the next 10 years!!!

You may also like...