Wigan ADHD patients wait almost three years for first assessment

Jo Platt MP is calling for change
Jo Platt MP is calling for change

Wigan residents living with a serious behavioural disorder are waiting almost three years for an assessment, it has been revealed.

MP Jo Platt is calling for an urgent meeting with the Health Secretary to look at how Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder patients are cared for in and around Wigan.

The member for Leigh has said that the country is “sorely letting down” people living with the condition and that waiting times for diagnosis and treatment are too long, with Wigan failing to come anywhere close to the 18-week deadline for assessment. Ms Platt said she was compelled to write to the Health Secretary after each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was asked what their average wait time is for assessment and diagnosis.

The results, she said, revealed a “stark postcode lottery”.

The letter says: “Despite a national target of 18 weeks for an assessment, young people in Somerset were waiting for less than one month whilst in Cheshire the wait is up to two years and locally to my constituency the average wait is nearly three years.

“These statistics are truly shameful and they impact they are having was recently confirmed to me in a meeting with the local ADHD provider (North West Boroughs Healthcare)

“Due to resourcing and capacity issues, whilst the trust serves over one million people they are unable to assess a patient for ADHD following a referral any quicker than their average two to three year wait.”

Ms Platt said that ADHD sufferers themselves have revealed how they have struggled through school, with some saying they have fallen into a life of crime just to get a “quick thrill”.

Symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness tend to be noticed at an early age and may become more prevalent or noticeable when that child’s circumstances change, for example when they go to school.

The open letter highlights the need for a “whole life” approach to treatment, with Ms Platt raising concerns that only 16 per cent of people with a “neurodivergent” condition end up in full-time employment.

The MP adds: “I hope that you will consider how NHS services can be resourced and connected to offer those with ADHD a whole-life treatment and support approach to transform their lives and careers.”

North West Boroughs Healthcare has responded to the letter, saying that it is working on bringing down the waiting times.

John Heritage, chief operating officer at North West Boroughs Healthcare, said:

“As a result of the additional funding from Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), we are now working with them to develop an adult ADHD service in Wigan, which will be compliant with NICE guidelines and will enable us to work towards seeing people within the national 18-week target going forward.

“We are looking forward to working with the CCG to enhance the current service in Wigan over the coming months.”

Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and chair of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, admitted that the waiting time for a diagnosis is “too long” but stressed that changes are being made to address this.

He said: “We are absolutely committed to achieving the national standards and delivering the best care for children and adults with ADHD and so I’d like to thank Jo Platt MP for raising her concerns.

“Most children in the borough get diagnosed with ADHD within 18 weeks of being referred by a GP. However, we do know that the waiting times for adults to get a diagnosis are too long.

We have committed more money to the adults service to help them bring the waiting time down and have agreed a plan with North West Boroughs to make this happen quickly.

“Together with partners, staff and families we are designing new, more responsive, local Autism services for both children and adults that will deliver quicker diagnosis and better care for everyone with ADHD.”