‘I face a choice between a 10-year wait on the NHS or a private ADHD diagnosis’
A 28-year-old woman has been told by her doctor she could be waiting for up to 10 years to receive an ADHD assessment on the NHS.
Bobby Frazier, who lives in Evesham, Worcestershire, first approached her GP about her potential ADHD a few months ago after “struggling” with mental health issues for her “whole adult life”.
“I’ve been going to the doctors for my mental health for over a decade,” she said, adding that she was “just constantly palmed off with antidepressants and stuff for years”.
Ms Frazier began to suspect she may have ADHD after it was suggested to her by an acquaintance.
She then began to read about the condition online and said she noticed a lot of similarities with her own behaviour.
Ms Frazier’s GP agreed to refer her to a specialist ADHD clinic. But when Ms Frazier enquired about waiting times, she received an email from her doctor, seen by i, that warned she could be waiting for up to 10 years.
“There is no way I’m going to go 10 years,” she said. “It’s not going to happen. I want to finally have a day of my adult life where I feel like I can do all of the things that I want to do and should be able to do.”
Ms Frazier decided to seek a referral for an ADHD assessment via the right to choose, a process that sees the NHS pay a private clinic to assess a patient.
She was in the process of filling out the paperwork when private ADHD clinics were thrust into the spotlight last week following a BBC Panorama documentary that claimed to expose poor practice within the industry.
The programme uncovered examples of multiple clinics that it said were prescribing powerful medication to individuals without carrying out the proper checks.
However, the documentary has proved controversial among those who have been diagnosed with ADHD, with many people arguing that it has served to further stigmatise the condition and feeds into the narrative that ADHD is not real.
A spokesperson for the BBC said the documentary “made clear that ADHD is a recognised condition affecting many adults” and said its producers took “great care to ensure the programme doesn’t stigmatise people who have ADHD”.
Ms Frazier said she has been left asking “what the hell do I do now?” since the programme’s release.
She is worried people will question her diagnosis if she receives it via the right to choose and is worried her GP will not agree to enter a shared care agreement if she goes private, meaning she will be stuck paying for a private prescription, which could cost £100 per month.
“I love the NHS, I really do,” she said. “I think it’s the best thing about our country. But obviously it’s struggling, it’s underfunded, it’s on its knees and so there are going to be really, really long waiting lists. It’s not acceptable, but I don’t think it’s the NHS’s fault.”
It comes after i revealed that thousands of people are being removed from NHS waiting lists for ADHD assessments without ever seeing a specialist or being provided any further information.