ADHD diagnosis and the “Right to Choose”

A diagnosis of ADHD in England has, up until recently, been a very tedious task. Children can very often be diagnosed through the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS) via school referral, however if you’re an adult then you have either private services, or your GP. Waiting lists for referrals to a diagnostician could take between 12-18 months, with there being no certainty you receive the choice of therapy you went in hoping for.  


If your GP thinks it appropriate that you should be referred for a diagnosis of ADHD, so long as they qualify within an NHS criteria you are now able to choose your “qualified provider” of that service. This ‘Right to choose’ pathway extends the scope of potential services, meaning waiting times from GP to diagnosis can become as short as 1-2 weeks. Psychiatry-UK is an example of one such service that qualify for NHS referrals for ADHD, which can circumvent the fees that are applied for the service without an NHS referral.  


Until recently, the options for adult diagnosis were either long waiting lists, or steep fees for a private service—neither of which are easy options to pursue. Unfortunately, this has worked to deter many from seeking diagnosis because “If I’ve gotten this far, then I can just keep going”. The ‘right to choose’ pathway effectively removes the charges from services that will be able to diagnose you and begin treatment within as short a time as 3 weeks. Whereas previously ADHD services were over-referred with scarce resources, meaning you could be denied medication, the ability to choose provider increases access to medication and other therapies also broaden because of the often diverse set of services available through specialised centres.


If you’re thinking about seeking a diagnosis for ADHD and want to use the ‘right to choose’ pathway, then explore options such as Psychiatry-UK. There may be some more local centres to where you are, sometimes they have their own referral form to take to the GP, or the GP themselves may have options for you. Either way, you will need a referral from the GP in order to access the services for free—but then you are on your way!  

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