ADHD service

The ADHD service provides assessment and treatment for children and adolescents for whom there are concerns about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

What is ADHD?

The three core symptoms of ADHD are inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Young people who have ADHD may have a short attention span, struggle to sit still for sustained periods of time, or may appear to act before they think.

For more information on ADHD, please see the following links:

What is our referral process?

We can accept ADHD assessment referrals for children and adolescents aged 6-18 who have a Camden or Barnet GP and live in either Camden or the following Barnet postcodes: NW2, NW11, N3

  • Referrals must be made in writing by a GP, paediatrician, teacher, psychiatrist, or another CAMHS professional. Referrals must include enough information regarding the following:
  • What symptoms of ADHD the young person displays
  • How long the symptoms have been present
  • Whether the young person exhibits these symptoms at school, at home, or in other settings
  • Important background information, such as family breakdown, social services involvement, moving from a different city or country, languages spoken at home, etc

All referrals are screened by our team before a patient is accepted into our assessment clinic.

What is the assessment process like?

Prior to a first appointment, parents, teachers and, if old enough, the child themselves, will be asked to complete some questionnaires. These are for us to learn about the young person ahead of meeting them in clinic and help to standardise the assessment process. Please note that all patients are required to complete these forms, even if a child already has been assessed and diagnosed by a clinician in the private health sector.

Once a patient's questionnaires are returned to Royal Free CAMHS, the forms will be screened. If an ADHD assessment is appropriate based on our screening, the patient will be added to our waiting list. To help gather more information for an assessment, we may also ask permission for a member of our team to complete an observation of the young person’s learning and behaviour at school. 

When the young person reaches the top of our waiting list, the family will be invited to an initial assessment. Please note, due to a backlog of referrals and assessments caused by COVID-19, our waiting times are longer than usual. 

When the assessment is complete the clinician will provide the family and the young person, if appropriate, with feedback. If an ADHD diagnosis is made, the young person’s GP will receive a report providing confirmation of the diagnosis and how this was made. With the family’s consent we can also send a copy to your child’s school. If the young person is found not to have ADHD, the rationale for this decision will be explained and alternative explanations for their difficulties will be provided.

What are the treatment options for ADHD following diagnosis?

Treatment of ADHD consists of a range of therapeutic options. The two interventions with most evidence for effectiveness are parenting programmes and medication. 

Parenting programmes

Parenting programmes are usually the first-line intervention. They can help parents learn to use more specific skills to help their child accept limits and boundaries, prevent difficult behaviour and deal with its consequences.

We currently run a termly ADHD Family Support Package (FSP) for parents/carers of young people diagnosed with ADHD in our service. If you wish to find out more about the FSP, please ask your child’s consultant for a flyer.

There may be other parenting programmes available depending on your area. Please speak to your child’s consultant for more information if you are interested.


Medication can be a useful adjunct to parent programmes but is not a ‘magic cure’ for ADHD. It simply creates a window through which other interventions at home and school can become more effective. Not all parents or young people decide to have ADHD medication and so we will always discuss the pros and cons of medication and their alternatives with you carefully. We will monitor your child’s height, weight, and blood pressure regularly if medication is prescribed.

Talking therapies

Other treatments provided by our service include ‘talking therapies’ such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), family therapy or psychotherapy. Please discuss any concerns that may be appropriate for treatment with talking therapy with your child’s consultant.