Intended for healthcare professionals


Autism and ADHD place “unprecedented” demand on NHS

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: (Published 04 April 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q802

Linked Analysis

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children: more focus on care and support, less on diagnosis

  1. Katharine Lang
  1. Bristol

The rise in the number of people in England waiting for diagnosis and treatment of autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) demands a rethink of the organisation of services, which should include agencies outside the health and care sector, an analysis by the Nuffield Trust has concluded.1

The number of people with suspected autism waiting to see a specialist in England reached 172 022 in December 2023, the highest ever recorded and a more than fivefold rise since 2019, it found. The average wait between referral and first appointment was nine months, with some areas having waiting times of more than two and a half years, showed the figures, which are based on NHS Digital experimental statistics.2 This compared with a four month wait in 2019. In 2023 only a fifth of people were seen by specialist services within the NICE …

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