Learning Disability Today
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New taskforce announces plans to improve ADHD services across England

NHS England, together with the government, have launched a new ADHD Taskforce in a bid to better understand the challenges affecting those with ADHD, including access to services and rising demand.

Now, NHS England has announced the taskforce will be co-chaired by Professor Anita Thapar and Joanna Killian. Under their guidance, the taskforce will look at ways of improving ADHD pathways and patient experience as well as making recommendations for reform.

ADHD taskforce will ensure services meet the needs of patients

Professor Anita Thapar is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and a clinician scientist and a professor at the Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University. She is currently co-chair on the Welsh Government Neurodivergence Ministerial Advisory Group and also sits on the board of the UK national charity the ADHD Foundation.

She said: “I am delighted to jointly lead this taskforce with my co-chair Joanna Killian. One of our first roles will be to appoint the taskforce membership. Central to our membership we will have people with lived experience guiding us and providing insight. They will be working alongside many experts who together can make a difference to improving ADHD services across England.”

Joanna Killian has more than 30 years’ experience in the public sector, including as chief executives at Surrey and Essex County Councils. She is currently Chief Executive of the Local Government Association and was previously Chair of the Board of St Mungo’s, the UK homelessness charity.

“ADHD is a condition that affects people’s day-to-day lives in many different ways and there is increasing demand for support and information,” she said. “Councils provide a range of care to children and adults with ADHD, working with local housing, health, education and voluntary sector partners. The taskforce is an important opportunity for national partners to work together to ensure services meet the needs of people of all ages with ADHD in the future”.

Taskforce aims to develop a national ADHD data improvement plan

The taskforce brings together people lived experience, experts from the NHS and local government as well as education, charity and justice sectors, and the health service is now looking at appointing new members.

Since December, NHS England has been focusing on ADHD with senior clinicians and system leaders from across the country to:

  • Develop a national ADHD data improvement plan
  • Carry out more detailed work to understand the provider and commissioning landscape
  • Capture examples from local health systems which are trialling innovative ways of delivering ADHD services and to ensure best practice is captured and shared across the system.

Steve Russell, Chief Delivery Officer at NHS England said: “We have recognised that more needs to be done to ensure people can get a timely diagnosis and, importantly, that all needs are addressed. Anita and Joanna’s huge wealth of expertise, backed by the NHS, will be key to driving this important agenda forward to improve care and support for people with ADHD”.

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