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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: parent/carer perceptions of barriers to healthcare access


Background Children and young people (CYP) with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) face delays in diagnosis and barriers to accessing appropriate interventions. Evidence is limited on how these barriers are perceived by their parents and carers.

Methods Focus group in South London with parents/carers of CYP with ADHD. Data were thematically analysed using an inductive/deductive hybrid approach.

Results Participants (n=8) described the challenge of accessing services within a disjointed, multiagency system for their CYP’s ADHD and broader health needs. They described feeling judged and overlooked by healthcare professionals, which could negatively impact the health, relationships and educational progress of their children. Pragmatic solutions were proposed, including providing parents with information on navigating services at an early stage of ADHD symptom recognition.

Conclusions Parents/carers sought improved continuity of care within and between services. They are a key group for consultation on the development of interventions to improve access for CYP with ADHD.

  • adolescent health
  • health services research
  • child psychiatry
  • qualitative research

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author (ER-P) upon reasonable request.

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