Eastbourne mother feels ‘failed’ by NHS over daughter’s treatment

Vikki Packham and her daughter Ruby (7) at their home in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-171004-085055008

Vikki Packham and her daughter Ruby (7) at their home in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-171004-085055008

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A mother says she feels the NHS has ‘failed’ her daughter after being told she would not be treated for ADHD.

Vikki Packham, of Langney, said her seven-year-old daughter Ruby needs help for her condition but has been told twice she did not meet the criteria for treatment.

Now the single mother says as a last resort she has had to take out a loan for a private appointment to get the right help and support for Ruby.

Miss Packham said, “I don’t know what else I can do but seek private help, they won’t do anything about it. It’s ridiculously hard.

“They haven’t even seen Ruby, I don’t know how they can make that judgement. I am absolutely gutted.

“All the professionals I have seen say there’s an issue. The school is really concerned.

“She once threw a table at a teacher – I don’t think that’s normal behaviour.”

Miss Packham said she herself was diagnosed with ADHD aged six and believes her daughter displays many of the same behaviours.

She says Ruby is at times violent and attention seeking, has trouble controlling her emotions and never sleeps through the night.

Now she is spending £500 for an appointment at a private clinic in Canterbury in the hope Ruby can be diagnosed and get some help.

When contacted a spokesperson for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said they were unable to comment on this specific case, but said, “It’s really important that children, young people and families affected by ADHD get the right help.

“This is what we always try to do. At the same time, our job is to make sure we only start treating someone for ADHD who has been formally diagnosed by a doctor.

“The first step in assessing whether a child or young person has ADHD is to draw on information from their family and school. In line with national guidance, we do this using scientific questionnaires which are then assessed by a specialist ADHD nurse.

“The aim of the questionnaires is to establish whether the child or young person is consistently hyperactive and impulsive both at home and at school.

“If they are, this may indicate ADHD. We will then invite them and their family in to be formally assessed by one of our doctors and nurses, which we try to do within four weeks.

“If this formal assessment results in a diagnosis of ADHD, we will then develop a treatment plan based on the specific needs and circumstances of the individual child or young person. This could involve medication, one-to-one therapy, family therapy or a combination of these.

“If the results of the scientific questionnaires indicate that ADHD is not the issue, then we will always think about where else we can direct the child or young person and their family to get the right help.

“We are always happy to repeat the questionnaire part of the assessment process if the family, GP or school have any further concerns.”