Using your Right to Choose (RTC) to get an ADHD assessment
NOTE: This information on how to get an ADHD assessment is currently only applicable for adults in England (not applicable to those serving in the armed forces)
The usual pathway for getting an ADHD assessment:
(This is the process most GPs are familiar with)
NB Before visiting your GP it’s often helpful to make a list of your ADHD symptoms/ examples of how your life is affected. Alternatively you can complete a self-rating questionnaire like this one or this online version. Do complete & send this to them first. Then visit/ book a call with your GP – saying you believe you may have ADHD.
- Visit/ speak with your GP: (They may or may not be familiar with ADHD in adults). Have the questionnaire above at hand and be prepared to explain how you feel ADHD affects you.
- Sometimes a GP may dismiss your symptoms as not ADHD- or refer you for other mental health support first. However, according to NICE guidelines, your GP is not qualified to say if you definitely have ADHD or not. They should just acknowledge there is a possibility that you may have it and refer on for assessment.
- Referral: A well-informed GP will usually refer you to your local ADHD clinic. It’s worth trying to establish the currently expected waiting time – you may be lucky and have a relatively short wait time. If the waiting time is over a year you could consider using Right To Choose (see below).
An alternative to this process is to use your Right To Choose (RTC)
- This allows you to choose any online ADHD assessment service delivered by an NHS provider.
- Most services still have long waits (see above) but this list shows some NHS ADHD assessment providers who may offer a shorter waiting times than your local service.
- When deciding which service to use, ask if their assessment/ titration services are accessible online and how the GP should make their referral.
- RTC is a recently discovered option. It is legally robust, and many people now use this option to reduce their wait for assessment.
- Many local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) are slowly becoming more aware of RTC. They are beginning to understand that they can’t legally refuse funding for this (as agreed by NHS England).
- Although legally the CCG can’t refuse to fund an assessment under RTC, your GP & CCG may well not be familiar with the process and this can delay a referral.
- The above services will both accept all patients who have been GP-referred via RTC.
What to do if you want to be assessed for ADHD
Step 1: get prepared!
Having a supportive GP is key. The forms or e-referral can be sent directly to either PUK/ ADHD 360. (However, if the GP mistakenly sends it to the CCG instead this may delay the process considerably).
- Before you visit or speak with your GP, you might allow them time to get grips with an unfamiliar way of doing things, by sending them this NHS document explaining how RTC works.
“If a GP needs to refer you for a physical or mental health condition, in most cases you have the legal right to choose the hospital or service you’d like to go to.This will include many private hospitals if they provide services to the NHS and it does not cost the NHS any more than a referral to a standard NHS hospital…”
- It’s also often helpful to make a list of your ADHD symptoms/ examples of how your life is affected. Alternatively you can complete a self-rating questionnaire like this one or this online version. Do complete & send this to them first. Then visit/ book a call with your GP – saying you believe you may have ADHD.
- In summary: It’s usually helpful to email them your notes/ questionnaire BEFORE your appointment so that they understand that you’re using your Right To Choose to choose a provider for your ADHD assessment. If you’re writing an email before the appointment you could use the template below:
I have booked an appointment with you on DD/MM/YY to request a referral for an ADHD assessment (see attached ASRS ADHD rating form ).
In light of the long wait for a local ADHD assessment I would like to use my Right To Choose to choose 〈 SUBSTITUTE YOUR CHOICE HERE〉 for my assessment as they have a shorter waiting time.
Please note that this is not an application for an Independent Funding Request. I have attached this NHS document for more information.
I look forward to talking with you more soon.
Your name & address
During your GP visit/ call
Explain to your GP you believe you may have ADHD and ask for a referral for an ADHD assessment: Be clear you’d like to use your Right To Choose and ask them to refer you directly to the service you have chosen.
Your GP may be able make a e-referral in minutes OR or they may need to call/ email the service directly to get the relevant referral forms.
NB Make sure the referral is made directly to the ADHD assessment provider you choose (NOT to the CCG as an Individual Funding Request. An IFR is usually be refused and does NOT use your legal Right To Choose. If the CCG is contacted first, they may require that the GP applies for an IFR. This can lead to lengthy delays.)
If you come up against ongoing problems:
You can contact NHS Improvement. They will spell out the rules to your CCG (who may be obstructive). However most will generally agree to pay for the assessment at that point.
There is more information on ADHD including assessments and RTC on the Adult ADHD UK Facebook Group. (Search Right To Choose)
Finally, if you really can’t bear to wait and can afford the hefty fees, you may want to consider going for a private assessment – find out more here.