Across England the 15 AHSNs are working to deliver a national adoption and spread programme which aims to transform the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) across the region. In March 2022 the programme was awarded the HSJ Partnership Award for best mental health partnership.

What is the problem we’re addressing?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder that includes symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness and affects around 5% of school-aged children worldwide.

ADHD can have a large impact on personal, academic, family and social interaction.

In the UK children can wait on average 18 months from their first appointment to receiving a formal ADHD diagnosis and the annual cost of ADHD assessments to the NHS is estimated at around £23m.

In the NHS Long Term Plan there is a commitment to improve children and young people’s mental health services which includes reducing waiting times for specialist services and supporting children, young people and their families through the diagnostic process.

The Focus ADHD model

The Focus ADHD intervention uses technology created by health technology company Qbtech Ltd. The technology, QbTest, measures a patient’s attention, impulsivity and motor activity all at the same time. These indicators are core symptoms of ADHD and accurate measurement adds objectivity to support timely diagnosis.

The intervention has shown a reduction in time to diagnosis by 153 days (median). Using this intervention increases staff capacity by reducing the number of appointments needed for diagnosis and by ruling out ADHD sooner for ambiguous cases. Releasing capacity of clinicians can help reduce waiting lists and allow clinicians more time to concentrate on complex cases.

Find out more about the research and evaluation of QbTest with this short video from East Midlands AHSN who piloted the approach before it was selected as a national AHSN Network programme:

Case study

“I can honestly say that this innovation has revolutionised my clinical practice. The feedback from clinicians, parents and schools so far has all been extremely positive. We are already planning how we can extend into other areas.”
Dr Julie Clarke, Consultant Paediatrician at United Lincolnshire Hospitals.
Read the AHSN Network’s Focus ADHD case study.

Join our Community of Practice

In January 2022 the South West and West of England AHSNs hosted the first Community of Practice (CoP) exploring innovation needs on the children and young people’s ADHD pathway. A second meeting was held in March 2022.

The online CoP is open to commissioners or service leads in children and young people’s mental health, as well as those working in community paediatric services, supporting ADHD assessment.

Our next meeting is being held on 28 June. Find out more and book your space here.

More information  and contact details

Further information can be found on the Qbtest website.

For further information on Focus ADHD in the West of England, or to join our community of practice, please contact Megan Kirbyshire, Senior Project Manager.