Children and young people who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are being offered care and support closer to their homes thanks to an innovative project in the New Forest.
Local pharmacists have been trained to carry out the routine six-monthly check ups such as height, weight and blood pressure for children taking prescribed medication.
This has freed up 40 per cent more clinic time so specialists from New Forest Children and Adolescent Mental Health services (CAMHS) can focus their attention on those who need most support.
The scheme has been a resounding success with the families involved – 97 per cent say they want it to continue.
Dr Lesley Ayling, Clinical Director for children and families at West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “This common sense approach means young people and their parents don’t have to take time out of school or work.
“It also means that CAMHS appointments focus on discussing the family’s concerns rather than on measuring the child.”
She added: “The scheme has attracted interest from around the country and we’re hopeful we can begin to roll it out to other areas.”
Dawn, from Waterside, whose 12-year-old son has ADHD said: “It’s just so much easier – the pharmacy is just five minutes up the road and I can arrange the assessment at a more convenient time for me.
“And my son actually likes it, because he already knows Helen [the local pharmacist] so he’s not so stressed about going. He knows what’s coming and he’s involved in it.”
Dr Subha Muthalagu, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, at New Forest CAMHS, who led the project added: “We are all delighted! Including local pharmacies has worked well for everyone – the families, the NHS and most importantly the children and young people. Finding the extra time to help those children that need it most has been important and has made a real difference.
The project was introduced in September 2016 as a one-year pilot at 15 pharmacies across the New Forest and has now being embedded locally.
If you live with a child or young person who has ADHD and feel that they would benefit from this service, please discuss with a CAMHS professional at their next appointment and see more information about the project here.