150 young people in Lancaster fall victim to ADHD waiting list backlog

Almost 150 young people in Lancaster and Morecambe are waiting to be assessed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) following the COVID lockdowns.

By Louise Bryning
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 11:54 am

The situation has been slammed by one parent whose son has had two assessment appointments cancelled this year.

“It’s absolutely disgusting, especially given the issue of children’s mental health at the moment,” said Jennie Tyson whose 11-year-old son, Harrison, was originally referred months ago.

ADHD assessments are run locally by Lancashire and South Cumbria Foundation Trust (LSCft) who say the current situation follows the national pattern of increasing referrals to the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service(CYPMHS) including ADHD assessments.

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Jennie Tyson and her son, Harrison.

The experience of lockdown for young people and the subsequent return to ‘normal’ social routines are known to have been very stressful and challenging, leading to more young people needing to access diagnostic and support services.

There are currently 146 young people in Lancaster and Morecambe on the assessment waiting list who have been triaged and accepted, and are awaiting a first contact call.

LSCft’s operations director for specialist services, Tracy Cook-Scowen, said: “We are continuing to improve our CYPMHS, strengthening our focus on supporting children in crisis and recruiting additional staff to provide a new urgent and intensive support service.

“The ADHD pathway is complicated and we are currently receiving an increasing number of ADHD related referrals from GPs.

"The waiting list for diagnosis is longer than we would like, we have a plan in place to address this and are prioritising those who have been waiting the longest.”

Although the Trust does have staff carrying out assessments, there is some sickness in the team as well as a vacant post. Recruitment efforts to secure additional, suitably qualified staff are on-going.

After complaining to the Trust about the situation and bringing it to the attention of Lancaster MP, Cat Smith, Miss Tyson’s son was offered an assessment appointment in Skelmersdale on May 18.

“The health and wellbeing of children is of utmost importance to us and we appreciate the concerns of the complainant in this case,” said Tracy Cook-Scowen.

“ We have responded directly and apologised.”