HL Deb 21 November 2002 vol 641 cc11-2WA
Lord Jones

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What initiatives are being taken in (a) England and (b) Wales to ensure that there are no delays in access to assessment and to treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder cases. [HL35]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has issued clear guidance on the use of the drug methylphenidate for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and issued clinical guidelines for its use, including information for patients, in 2000. This guidance was circulated widely among professional groups involved with attention deficit disorders. The Department of Health has also grant-aided the ADHD National Alliance, an organisation which helps to co-ordinate voluntary sector activity and development work in this field.

In recent years the department has supported a number of other initiatives taken by professional bodies and other agencies to raise awareness of attention deficit disorder and ADHD and to facilitate accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. These include an evidence-based briefing for clinicians on the use of stimulant medication (1999) and fact sheets for parents, teachers and young people on attention deficit problems and hyperactivity, both produced by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. We have also collaborated with the Department for Education and Skills in issuing guidance for teachers on promoting children's mental health, including attention deficit/hyperactivity, within early years and school settings in 2001.

The Department of Health public service agreement has set a challenging target for the improvement of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). The Secretary of State for Health recently announced an additional investment of £140 million over the next three years through increased grants to local authorities for CAMHS, which together with new National Health Service investment, will help to ensure that every area will have comprehensive service for children and young people with mental health needs.

The position in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Assembly.