Mother’s warning about shortages in ADHD referral service

Louise Packer's son Tyler Evans has had his ADHD mediccation stopped due to funding cuts.

Louise Packer's son Tyler Evans has had his ADHD mediccation stopped due to funding cuts. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A mother whose son suffers with severe ADHD is warning other parents after a mental health team's stretched service almost left him without medication.

Louise Packer's son, Tyler Evans, 12, needs 55mgs of Medikinet a day, a brand of Methylphenidate - also made under the trade name, Ritalin - in order to attend special school and to help control his unpredictable behaviour.

When Mrs Packer, 40, from Thetford, tried to renew his prescription in January, she was told Tyler had to undergo a fresh assessment to confirm he still needed the drugs.

But when she contacted Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Bury St Edmunds, she was told they did not have any appointments.

That left Tyler with just three weeks medication left, and the family with no guidance on where else to turn, other than to write CAMHS for clarification on the situation.

Mrs Packer said she had since been able to get a repeat prescription from her GP, but without many of the usual checks carried out by the CAMHS, including monitoring of weight and blood pressure.

West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has since admitted there is a 'gap in current service provision'.

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And Mrs Packer wants to warn other parents who might be expecting appointments soon.

'We had no forewarning that there wasn't going to be any appointments and we were faced with my son going without medication, having been on it for seven years.

'It would have been horrendous for him to go without it, and there are lots of other parents out there in a similar situation who are probably unaware.

'It's only because I stamped my feet that we got the GP's assessment, so he's okay for another year,' she said.

A spokesman for West Suffolk CCG said: 'West Suffolk CCG is working closely with Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust to increase capacity of the current ADHD service for under 18s, recognising that there is a gap in current service provision.

'As commissioners, West Suffolk CCG appreciate this is a priority and is committed to rectifying this position.

'It is anticipated that an enhanced service will be in place in the next month and affected patients will be contacted soon.'

Have you been affected by cuts to the mental health service? Email david.powles@archant.co.uk

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