Suffolk families suffer ‘unnecessary distress’ due to ADHD care delays
PUBLISHED: 15:51 22 March 2018 | UPDATED: 15:52 22 March 2018
Suffolk children are facing delays longer than six months for mental health support due to NHS staff shortages, it has been revealed.
Campaigners say families are suffering “unnecessary distress” over problems accessing the county’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) service.
Latest figures from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) show almost 100 patients in Suffolk have waited longer than 18 weeks for ADHD care.
Of these cases, more than 75 faced delays exceeding 26 weeks.
The data is published in trust documents, which state: “A backlog remains due to previous difficulties in recruiting appropriately skilled clinicians in the children and youth pathways.”
Anne Humphrys, co-chairwoman of Suffolk Parent and Carer Network (SPCN), said: “Many families have told us about the issues they have faced trying to access the ADHD service for their children and young people.
“This has resulted in long waits and unnecessary distress.
“SPCN approached NSFT to ask if we could work together to find a solution and as a result NSFT were able to identify a way to tackle the waiting list which started in December.
“However some families are still waiting and we are continuing to work with NSFT to address the issues.”
ADHD is a common behavioural disorder in children.
Symptoms include restlessness, lack of concentration and impulsiveness, and patients may benefit from medication or counselling.
Peter Devlin, NSFT operations director for mental health and learning disabilities in Suffolk, said: “The challenges that we have experienced in recruiting staff with the right, specialist skills and expertise has resulted in delays in children and young people receiving assessments. This is not ideal and we have written to each of the families waiting for an assessment to apologise for the delay and to offer them contact details of our ADHD deputy service manager should they wish to discuss their individual circumstances.
“Now the team is almost fully established with staff, we are actively working through the waiting lists and making contact with families. These cases are a priority for our team and we will be working through them as soon as possible.”