This programme has now closed but you may find the below resources useful. Please note the information on this webpage was correct at the time of publication.

Across England the 15 AHSNs delivered a national adoption and spread programme which aimed 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.

In total 715 young people were supported across our region by the programme since 2020:

Why focus on ADHD?

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.

In March 2023, NICE published a highlighting the benefits of objective testing technology (QbTest) when used as part of a comprehensive ADHD assessment.

An evaluation study by the Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham has shown the impact of using QbTest as part of an improved ADHD assessment pathway.

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:

Patient case study

In our case study hear from a parent, ADHD nurse and consultant as they discuss the journey to diagnosis for Tom and how he and his family benefited from the Focus ADHD programme and use of QbTest.

“QbTest enabled true, real-time insight into Tom’s difficulties with attention and concentration, and in particular how hyperkinetic he is. It gives objective evidence based on Tom’s performance. The test has enabled an ADHD diagnosis to be confirmed”. Dr Milhench

Read our Focus ADHD case study.

Clinical 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.

Community of Practice: Innovation needs on neurodiversity pathways for children and young people

In January 2022 the South West and West of England AHSNs hosted their first Community of Practice (CoP) exploring innovation needs on the children and young people’s neurodiversity pathways.

The CoP offers an opportunity to share and learn with regional colleagues such as commissioners, service leads and clinicians. These meetings will continue throughout 2023 – visit our events pages for the latest details.

More information  and contact details

Further information can be found on the Qbtest website.

To find out more about our Focus ADHD work in the West of England, please contact us.