ADHD hub planned for launch in autumn 2024

The hub will support shared-care arrangement for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
GP talking to patient

An adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) hub is to be launched in Yorkshire in 2024 in an attempt to improve joined up treatment for patients.

The hub will be operated by Leeds GP Confederation in collaboration with NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Jim Barwick, chief executive of Leeds GP Confederation, told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the ADHD hub is set to open in “October to December” 2024, covering several healthcare sites and operating with secondary care consultants for initiation of ADHD medicines, working alongside GPs trained in neurodiversity, to support shared-care arrangements as the link between GP practices in Leeds.

Barwick said the intention was also to involve the voluntary and charity sector “to support people to have fulfilled lives in employment and do the things that they were unable to do prior to their diagnosis and treatment”.

The announcement follows an ongoing struggle for the NHS to meet the increasing demand for ADHD treatment. In June 2023, The Pharmaceutical Journal reported that the number of adults in England prescribed at least one medicine for ADHD, or a central nervous system stimulant, had nearly doubled since January 2020.

A study, published in April 2024 by the British Journal of General Practice, revealed that more than 40% of people in England with ADHD have been on the waiting list for adult mental health services for two years or more.

Alongside the increased demand for ADHD treatment in recent years, there have also been significant ADHD medication shortages in the UK since 2022.

In November 2023, a survey by the charity ADHD UK of 1,054 patients revealed that more than a quarter of patients with ADHD in the UK have had no medication since a patient safety alert warning of drug shortages was published in September 2023.

“[There are] huge waiting lists, a selection of variable right to choose providers, an overburdened NHS system and variability in shared care arrangements thereafter,” said Barwick.

“What we’ve seen at the moment is this variability in how patients are followed up within practices. And that will be down to their own capacity and capability — and that’s a nationwide issue.

“What tends to happen now in worst-case scenarios is that the annual reviews are not done in a comprehensive way, that the relationship and the communication between the right to choose provider and the GP is really poor,” he added.

“We’ve come up with a proposal that we are currently working on. And the basics of that proposal start with how do we improve the shared care arrangements?”

Barwick highlighted that there are still many factors to work out to before the launch of the ADHD hub, such as workforce capacity and funding, but the hub could include a pharmacist-led “protocolled ADHD prescribing clinic”.

Asked about the ADHD hub, a spokesperson for NHS England highlighted the launch of an ADHD taskforce in March 2024 “to better understand the challenges affecting those with ADHD and help provide a joined up approach in response to concerns around rising demand”.

On 16 May 2024, NHS England announced that the taskforce would be co-chaired by Anita Thapar, professor at the Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University, and Joanna Killian, chief executive of the Local Government Association. 

In its announcement of the appointment of the chairs, NHS England said it would continue to “capture examples from local health systems which are trialling innovative ways of delivering ADHD services”.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, May 2024, Vol 312, No 7985;312(7985)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.314205

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