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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: parent/carer perceptions of barriers to healthcare access
  1. Emma Rezel-Potts1,
  2. Maria Kordowicz2,
  3. Johnny Downs3,
  4. Patrick White1,
  5. Vibhore Prasad1
  1. 1School of Population Health and Environmental Sciences, King's College London, London, UK
  2. 2Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK
  3. 3Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King’s College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Emma Rezel-Potts, King's College London, London SE1 1UL, UK; emma.rezel-potts{at}


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

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  • Contributors VP conceived of the project. VP arranged and facilitated the focus group with assistance from ER-P. MK guided the approach to analysis. ER-P and VP independently coded the transcript before agreeing on the final codes with additional code verification from MK with JD and PW agreeing on the final themes. ER-P drafted the paper. All authors were involved in interpretation of the results, and read and commented on all drafts, giving final approval of the submitted version.

  • Funding This study was supported by a Starter Grant for Clinical Lecturers from the Academy of Medical Sciences. ER-P received salary funding from the Starter Grant for Clinical Lecturers from the Academy of Medical Sciences, which was awarded to VP. VP is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) academic clinical lecturer.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was obtained from the King’s College London research ethics committee (ref: MRA-18/19-10690).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • 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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