Government to consider review of ADHD causes and treatments

The government is to consider carrying out a “wide-ranging” review of the causes and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) following a call from a leading neurologist.

Baroness Susan Greenfield, professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford, asked the government at Lords question time last week to consider the issue following concerns about the increase in the prescribing of Ritalin and other ADHD drugs such as Concerta to children.

In response, government spokeswoman Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, said: “It is not clear whether the percentage of children with ADHD has increased in recent years or whether this reflects greater awareness of the condition.

“But I certainly think the suggestion that there should be a wide-ranging review is interesting, although of course it would go far wider than the Department of Health. It would have to be a cross-government initiative.

“I would therefore have to take it back to my colleagues who I am sure will discuss the suggestion with you. But I can assure you we will pursue your suggestion.”

Meanwhile, the government has announced it is to invest £31 million in young peoples’ psychiatric wards.

A new mental health bill, which will become law next year, states children should never be placed in adult psychiatric wards.

Mental health minister Ivan Lewis said the money would be split between 17 projects across the NHS. Their remit would be to increase mental health beds for young people.

Mr Lewis has promised that by November 2008 no child under 16 will be treated on an adult mental health ward.

He has also pledged to made “substantive progress” in reducing the number of 16-18 year olds on adult wards.

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