Innovative test supporting children in Greater Manchester to receive faster ADHD diagnosis

Young boy reading. The AHSN Network Focus - Transforming ADHD Diagnosis

More than 5,000 children across Greater Manchester have had an objective assessment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as part of a pioneering project.

AHSNs, including Health Innovation Manchester, are helping to transform ADHD services across England with the roll out of technology that can provide an objective assessment and help families receive a diagnosis more quickly.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that includes symptoms such as inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness and affects around 5% of school-aged children worldwide. [1] In the UK children can wait on average 18 months from their first appointment to receiving a formal ADHD diagnosis. [2] The annual cost of ADHD assessments to the NHS is estimated at around £23m. [3]

Mental health services within Greater Manchester are currently adopting new QbTest technology, created by international health technology company Qbtech Ltd, to measures attention, impulsivity and motor activity at the same time. These indicators are core symptoms of ADHD and accurate measurement adds objectivity to support timely diagnosis.

QbTest has now been adopted by all eligible children and young people mental health services in NHS Trusts in Greater Manchester. Since April 2019, more than 5,500 objective ADHD assessments of children aged under 19 have been completed in the city-region.

New figures released during ADHD Month (October) show that nationally more than 52,000 children across England have had an objective assessment for ADHD since the start of the first “demonstrator” site in East Midlands in 2017. The objective tests to help diagnose ADHD are now being carried out in 51 trusts across 100 sites in England.

Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan, Associate National Clinical Director for Children and Young People, NHS England and Improvement, has championed the project in Greater Manchester and nationally.

She said: “The message I want to get across this ADHD awareness month is recognising that every young person or adult with ADHD or ADD is unique in their own right and whilst there might be areas they find challenging, we must also celebrate their uniqueness and strengths.”

Health Innovation Manchester, the organisation responsible for responsible for accelerating the spread of proven innovation into the local health and care system, is supporting the adoption of QbTest in Greater Manchester as part of the Focus ADHD national Academic Health Science Network programme. [4]

Focus ADHD was selected following a demonstrator project across seven NHS sites in the East Midlands which showed a reduction in time to diagnosis by an average of 153 days. Using this intervention was also shown to increase staff capacity by reducing the number of appointments needed for diagnosis and by ruling out ADHD sooner for ambiguous cases. Releasing capacity of clinicians can help reduce waiting lists, improve treatment and allow more time to concentrate on complex cases.

Amanda Risino, Chief Operating Officer of Health Innovation Manchester, said: “Collectively evidence shows how QbTest and approach to ADHD assessments can improve the experience for children and their families as well as save time and money for the health and care system. By supporting mental health services in Greater Manchester to adopt this innovative approach we are supporting more children and families to receive faster diagnosis and improve patient experience.”

Watch a video to see how Focus ADHD has impacted one family’s life. 

Find out more about Health Innovation Manchester’s ADHD work

Read a blog from Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan, about FOCUS ADHD on the AHSN Network website


[1] NICE. (2008). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Diagnosis and management of ADHD in children, young people and adults. Clinical Guideline 72. London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

[2] Fridman, M., Banaschewski, T., Sikirica, V., Quintero, J., & Chen, K. S. (2017). Access to diagnosis, treatment, and supportive services among pharmacotherapy-treated children/adolescents with ADHD in Europe: Data from the caregiver Perspective on Pediatric ADHD survey. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 13, 947–958.




Back to top