NHS England announces formation of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Taskforce

NHS England is establishing a taskforce to look at attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) service provision and its impact on patient experience. We know that ADHD can have a lifetime impact, with a range of interdependencies on the health, wellbeing, social integration, and quality of life of people and families.

The NHS England led taskforce is expected to engage widely, including with the education, care, health and criminal justice sectors to reflect the fact that tackling the problems people with ADHD experience will need a joined-up approach.

To achieve this the taskforce will be expected to engage with people with lived experience, service providers, integrated care boards and integrated care partnerships, primary care, local authorities, schools/educational providers and clinical teams. The taskforce will be expected to report on their findings later this year.

The taskforce will be supported by work NHS England has already undertaken on ADHD.

In December 2023 NHS England initiated a rapid piece of work to consider ADHD service provision within the NHS. The initial phase of work identified has identified challenges with:

  • Current service models and the ability to keep pace with demand.
  • The balance between use of medication and therapeutic treatment options.
  • The rate of growth within the independent sector and the potential variation in the service models and thresholds being used.
  • Variation in access, experience and outcomes for different populations.
  • Lack of reliable data to fully understand the size of the challenge; and
  • The join-up across ADHD services and interrelated policies across health, care, education and the justice system.

The issues reported span all ages and encompass access, choice, diagnosis, and treatment options.

These findings are an important step in helping to improve services for people with ADHD in England. However, the findings will now be tested and solutions developed more widely through the formation of the taskforce leading to greater cross-sector and patient collaboration.

This is particularly important as improvement for people with ADHD and their families cannot be achieved by the NHS alone.