National Programme —

Focus ADHD

Working with mental health trusts and community paediatric services to improve the assessment process for ADHD and understand pathway innovation needs.

Two young children sit at a table drawing with pencils

Increasing availability of objective assessments for children suspected of having ADHD where a need is identified 

Reducing waiting times and unnecessary appointments before ADHD diagnosis  

Improving patients’, carers’ and clinicians’ experiences around diagnosis and throughout the pathway 

Detailed Programme Information

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological condition affecting 5% of school aged children. 

Whilst ADHD can be managed and treated, the condition can have a significant impact on personal development, academic outcomes and family interaction if untreated. Diagnosis is often subjective, and lengthy, (on average 18 months), and costly to the NHS. 

Using an approved computer-supported objective assessment tool (QbTest) to measure attention, impulsivity and motor activity – the core symptoms of ADHD – can support a subjective assessment. 

The results are instantly analysed and presented in a report which compares a patients’ results against a normative dataset based on age and gender. ADHD practitioners then use information from the QbTest report alongside their clinical assessment to inform their decision whether the young person has ADHD or not. Together this leads to faster diagnoses, and a better experience for patients, carers and clinicians.  

The AHSN Network is rolling out a three-year Focus ADHD programme by region, working closely with local trusts and stakeholders to explore benefits and map service need for pathway integration.

The programme is now in its final year. Almost 75,000 people (aged 6-18 years) have received an objective assessment for ADHD since Academic Health Science Networks began to support QbTest in 2017.

A recent evaluation study by the Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham has shown the impact of using QbTest as part of an improved ADHD assessment pathway.

QbTest can supply important data to help inform a clinician’s diagnosis. To date, it is being used in 65 trusts across 131 sites – over half of the NHS providers of ADHD assessments for this age group.

To find out more about the programme visit the East Midlands AHSN Focus ADHD webpage. Watch this video to see how it has impacted one family’s life.

For more information, please contact South West AHSN Focus ADHD Programme Manager, Kara Reaney.

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