A scheme to speed up ADHD diagnosis in children and young people, which has involved Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust participation, has won a national award.

Almost 57,000 people (aged 6-18 years) have received an objective assessment for ADHD since Academic Health Science Networks began to support a new digital innovation, QbTest.

The Focus ADHD scheme,  pioneered in the East Midlands with the support of NHS Trusts including Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, has been awarded the HSJ Partnership Award for Best Mental Health Partnership (the equivalent of the NHS Oscars!).

The QbTest is an approved computer-supported objective test which measures attention, motor activity and impulsivity – the core symptoms of ADHD. The results are instantly analysed and presented in a report which compares a patient’s results against a normative dataset based on age and gender. ADHD practitioners then use information from the QbTest report alongside their clinical assessment to inform their decision whether the young person has ADHD.

The innovation speeds up the time to diagnosis, improving patient experience. It is being used in 59 trusts across 113 sites – just over half of the NHS providers of ADHD assessments for this age group, including consultants at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.

There are several research and evaluation studies that demonstrate the benefits of QbTest in aiding diagnosis including an evaluation led by the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network which found time to diagnostic decision was reduced by five months.

Tony Doyle, managing director of Qbtech Ltd said: ” We are delighted to have won this award and very grateful for the support from Dr Neeta Kulkarni and her colleagues in the Community Paediatrics Department at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust. The Trust  supported the development of our clinical evidence base for QbTest with the AQUA Trial (2018), and the EMAHSN Demonstrator Project (2017) which showed the efficiency gains for the NHS and a 5-month reduction in the time to assessment for ADHD that can be realised by including our technology.  Together, these initiatives led to the adoption of Focus ADHD by The AHSN Network at a national level and it was such an honour to receive the award alongside Dr Kulkarni and EMAHSN colleagues for the difference we have made to 57,000 children since 2017″.

Dr Neeta Kulkarni, consultant paediatrician at LPT said: “ADHD is a common disorder in children and young people and can lead to difficulties in a number of different settings including in school, with friends and at home. Timely access to assessment and treatment for young people with ADHD is incredibly important to prevent secondary problems developing and to ensure young people achieve their full potential. It is also important for young people to know if they do not have ADHD to ensure they access the right support for their needs.

“I am very pleased that our team of clinicians have the opportunity to use the QbTest in Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, initially as a research trial and then as part of the EMAHSN project. This objective test has benefitted a number of families and children in Leicestershire by earlier diagnosis and management. This additional tool has also improved the confidence of clinicians in the diagnosis of ADHD. We were pleased to share this recently as part of a national visit from Matt Whitty, NHS England Director of innovation and life sciences.

“It was a great overall experience to be part of the Focus ADHD group and we would like to thank Qbtech and EMAHSN for the excellent support in implementing this project. “

Dara Coppel, Head of Innovation Programme Delivery, East Midlands AHSN said: “I am delighted that Focus ADHD has won the HSJ Partnership Award for the best mental health partnership with the NHS.

“The Focus ADHD national programme is a brilliant example of what can be achieved through dedicated, multi-sector, collaborative leadership. We have been successful in implementing this evidence-based intervention across 59 trusts so far, to improve timely access to assessment and diagnosis for children and families. Our aim is for every child clinic in England to implement this innovation.”