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52,000 families supported, as technology to help diagnose ADHD is rolled out by NHS

Posted: 25th October 2021

The AHSN Network is helping to transform Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) services across England with the rollout of technology that can provide an objective assessment and help families to receive a diagnosis more quickly.

New figures released during ADHD Awareness Month (October) show that, since the start of the first ‘demonstrator’ site in the East Midlands in 2017, 52,000 children across England have had an objective assessment for ADHD using the QbTest technology.

10,000 of these tests were undertaken during 2020/21 and this number is growing quickly –  9,500 more have been completed in the first six months of this financial year.

In Yorkshire and the Humber alone, 2,029 tests have been completed within the first 18-months of the Focus ADHD programme (since April 2020) saving the same number of clinical appointments and reducing the waiting time for a diagnosis by an average five months for each child referred.

Mark Dines-Allen, programme manager at the Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said: “Within Yorkshire and Humber, six sites across five trusts were using an objective assessment before the Focus ADHD programme commenced in April 2020.

“Since then, an additional five sites across three trusts have now gone live. We are working with the remaining Yorkshire and Humber trusts to increase the number of sites using the Focus ADHD programme and the uptake of the QbTest.”

The objective tests to help diagnose ADHD are now being carried out in 51 NHS trusts across 100 sites in England.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder and affects around 5% of school-aged children worldwide. Symptoms include inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

If undiagnosed and/or untreated ADHD can have a significant impact on personal development, academic outcomes and social interaction. Mental health charity Mind also indicates that those with ADHD are more likely to experience a mental health problem.

Focus ADHD uses technology created by international health technology company Qbtech Ltd. The QbTest is a computer-based test that measures the disorders key components (attention, impulsivity and activity) all at the same time, which can reduce diagnosis time by approximately five months (153 days). It can also help to rule out ADHD as a diagnosis and help clinical teams to work with families to identify other possible causes where appropriate.

Nicole McGlennon, Managing Director, East Midlands AHSN said: “The East Midlands AHSN delivered a 12-month, real-world demonstrator project, where the test was deployed and evaluated in three East Midlands NHS trusts. Our findings showed that using the test to supplement current clinical assessment processes not only reduced diagnosis time but that 94% of clinicians and 85% of patients found the tool helpful.

“During the pandemic many services were unable to hold face to face clinics. Focus ADHD can help release clinicians’ capacity, reduce waiting lists, improve treatment and allow more time to concentrate on complex cases. It’s great to see it being supported by the AHSNs nationally to ensure more families can benefit as it rolls out across NHS services.”

Watch the video to see how it has impacted one family’s life.