Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is underdiagnosed in many European countries and the process of accessing care and diagnosis is complex and variable. In many countries, general practitioners (GPs) refer on to secondary care where individuals receive an assessment and, if appropriate, a diagnosis and access to care. It is therefore essential that GPs have a clear understanding of the disorder and its care pathways. While previous studies have highlighted potential barriers in GPs’ ADHD awareness, this qualitative study aims to further explore individual stakeholders’ experiences.
Semi-structured interviews explored the views of multiple stakeholders- GPs (n = 5), healthcare specialists (n = 5), patients (adults with ADHD n = 5) and parents (n = 5) with experience of the presentation and management of ADHD in primary care. These interviews were analysed using thematic analyses and following principles of grounded theory.
Stakeholders described ADHD assessment, diagnosis and treatment as an intricate process. Many factors affected this process such as complex pathways, lack of services, limited GP recognition and knowledge, and communicative difficulties between and within multiple stakeholders.
This analysis underlines the significant impact that receiving (or not) a diagnosis can have, and further explores muddled ADHD care pathways, highlighting key issues around GP identification and the shortage of adult services. Implications for practice and future research are discussed, suggesting a strong need for more commissioned pathways and GP specific educational programs.