Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Taskforce chairs announced

NHS England’s new cross-sector Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Taskforce will be co-chaired by Professor Anita Thapar and Joanna Killian, the NHS has announced today.

The new taskforce, launched together with government, brings together those with lived experience and experts from the NHS, local government as well as education, charity and justice sectors to gain a better understanding of the challenges affecting those with ADHD, including access to services and rising demand.

Professor Anita Thapar is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and a clinician scientist and a professor at the Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University. She is currently co-chair on the Welsh Government Neurodivergence Ministerial Advisory Group and on the Welsh Government Clinical Advisory Group for ADHD assessment and support. She also sits on the board of the UK national charity the ADHD Foundation and is a member of the UK Embracing Complexity Neurodivergence Steering Group.

Joanna Killian is Chief Executive of the Local Government Association and was previously Chair of the Board of St Mungo’s, the UK homelessness charity.  She has more than 30 years’ experience in the public sector, including as chief executives at Surrey and Essex County Councils. In June 2021, as part of the government’s intervention of Liverpool City Council, Joanna was appointed by the Secretary of State as Local Government Improvement Commissioner, a role she finished in March 2024 as she joined the LGA.

Under Anita and Joanna’s guidance the taskforce will look at ways of improving ADHD pathways and patient experience as well as making recommendations for reform.

Professor Anita Thapar said: “I am delighted to jointly lead this taskforce with my co-chair Joanna Killian. One of our first roles will be to appoint the taskforce membership. Central to our membership we will have people with lived experience guiding us and providing insight. They will be working alongside many experts who together can make a difference to improving ADHD services across England”.

Joanna Killian said: “I am delighted to be asked to co-chair the taskforce. ADHD is a condition that affects people’s day-to-day lives in many different ways and there is increasing demand for support and information. Councils provide a range of care to children and adults with ADHD, working with local housing, health, education and voluntary sector partners. The taskforce is an important opportunity for national partners to work together to ensure services meet the needs of people of all ages with ADHD in the future”.

The members will be announced in due course, and the taskforce expects to report later this year.

Since December, NHS England has been focusing on ADHD with senior clinicians and system leaders from across the country. Alongside the work of the taskforce, NHS England will continue to work with stakeholders to:

  • develop a national ADHD data improvement plan
  • carry out more detailed work to understand the provider and commissioning landscape
  • capture examples from local health systems which are trialling innovative ways of delivering ADHD services and to ensure best practice is captured and shared across the system.

Steve Russell, Chief Delivery Officer at NHS England said: “The NHS launched the first cross-sector ADHD taskforce in response to a growth in demand for services and, as we continue to build on that momentum, I am pleased to announce that Anita and Joanna will jointly chair the taskforce.

“We have recognised that more needs to be done to ensure people can get a timely diagnosis and, importantly, that all needs are addressed. Anita and Joanna’s huge wealth of expertise, backed by the NHS, will be key to driving this important agenda forward to improve care and support for people with ADHD”.

The NHS Long Term Plan set out an ambitious programme to transform mental health services, autism and learning disability. A particular focus is on boosting community services and reducing the over reliance on inpatient care, with these more intensive services significantly improved and more effectively joined up with schools and councils.