Almost 57,000 people (aged 6-18 years) have received an objective assessment for ADHD since Academic Health Science Networks began to support a new digital innovation, QbTest.

The innovation, which speeds up the time to diagnosis, has improved patient experience and saved the NHS a potential £19.5m since 2017*. It is being used in 59 trusts across 113 sites – including in the West of England.

Last night (24 March), the achievement was recognised by being awarded the HSJ Partnership Award for Best Mental Health Partnership.

Pioneered in the East Midlands, QbTest is an approved computer-supported objective test which measures attention, motor activity and impulsivity – the core symptoms of ADHD.

The results are instantly analysed and presented in a report which compares a patients’ results against a normative dataset based on age and gender.

ADHD practitioners then use information from the QbTest report alongside their clinical assessment to inform their decision whether the young person has ADHD or not.

There are several research and evaluation studies that demonstrate the benefits of QbTest in aiding diagnosis including an evaluation led by the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network which found time to diagnostic decision was reduced by five months.

As part of the Focus ADHD National Programme, the 15 Academic Health Science Networks across England are supporting clinical services to improve their ADHD assessment pathway with the implementation of QbTest.

The Focus ADHD programme can have a positive impact on young people and families by reducing the number of appointments needed for clinical diagnosis, meaning that clinicians can see more patients. The new pathway can also generate increased clinical confidence and understanding while increasing efficiencies for the service.

Dara Coppel, Head of Innovation Programme Delivery, East Midlands AHSN said:

“I am delighted that Focus ADHD has won the HSJ Partnership Award for the best mental health partnership with the NHS. The Focus ADHD national programme is a brilliant example of what can be achieved through dedicated, multi-sector, collaborative leadership. We have been successful in implementing this evidence-based intervention across 59 trusts so far, to improve timely access to assessment and diagnosis for children and families. Our aim is for every child clinic in England to implement this innovation.”

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.

Please contact us to find out more information about future meeting dates and resources.

More information and contact details

Read more about our FOCUS ADHD work.

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.


* Based on a saving of £343 per patient which was identified by findings from the East Midlands Real World Demonstrator between January and December 2017.

Posted on March 25, 2022

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