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Concerns raised by the BBC's Panorama programme

Following the BBC Panorama programme, many people may feel concerned about the process of assessments. If your assessment was under the NHS or Right to Choose through the NHS it should be recognised by the NHS for the purpose of acknowledging your diagnosis as valid  and for prescribing medication. 

If you have yet to be diagnosed and are concerned, the NICE guidance states the following:

A diagnosis of ADHD should only be made by a specialist psychiatrist, paediatrician or other appropriately qualified healthcare professional with training and expertise in the diagnosis of ADHD, on the basis of: 

  • a full clinical and psychosocial assessment of the person; this should include discussion about behaviour and symptoms in the different domains and settings of the person's everyday life and 

  • a full developmental and psychiatric history and 

  • observer reports and assessment of the person's mental state. [2008]

1.3.2A diagnosis of ADHD should not be made solely on the basis of rating scale or observational data. However, rating scales such as the Conners' rating scales and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire are valuable adjuncts, and observations (for example, at school) are useful when there is doubt about symptoms. [2008]

1.3.3 For a diagnosis of ADHD, symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity and/or inattention should: 

  • meet the diagnostic criteria in DSM‑5 or ICD‑11 (hyperkinetic disorder; but exclusion based on a pervasive developmental disorder or an uncertain time of onset is not recommended) and 

  • cause at least moderate psychological, social and/or educational or occupational impairment based on interview and/or direct observation in multiple settings and 

  • be pervasive, occurring in 2 or more important settings including social, familial, educational and/or occupational settings.

    As part of the diagnostic process, include an assessment of the person's needs, coexisting conditions, social, familial and educational or occupational circumstances and physical health. For children and young people, there should also be an assessment of their parents' or carers' mental health. [2008, amended 2018] 

1.3.4 ADHD should be considered in all age groups, with symptom criteria adjusted for age-appropriate changes in behaviour. [2008] 

1.3.5 In determining the clinical significance of impairment resulting from the symptoms of ADHD in children and young people, their views should be taken into account wherever possible. [2008] 

In this clinic, total appointment time is 2.5-4.5 hours and covers:

  • Why are you here and why now?   

  • Developmental history    

  • Early history and primary school   

  • ADHD traits in primary school    

  • Secondary school and further education  

  • Work history    

  • Psychological/mental health history - includes risk and substance use    

  • Adult ADHD traits (using DIVA interview schedule and CAARS - Conners Adult ADHD Rating Scale)

  • Impact on life   

  • Feedback  

We do ask for information from someone who knows you well. This may be provided via email. Alternatively, they are welcome to attend an appointment if preferred. 

I worked in an adult ADHD NHS service from 2013-2022 and continue to follow many of the same processes. I have attended UKAAN training as well as working beside my NHS colleagues, including psychiatrists, nurses, pharmacists and other psychologists. 

Please ensure any provider you choose is qualified, experienced, and clarify with them the areas they cover.

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