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ADHD - steps to take for diagnosis


I get asked a lot about the diagnosis pathway for ADHD. . These are the current options:

Private diagnosis NHS diagnosis via GP NHS diagnosis using 'Right to Choose' (England only).


Private diagnosis:

Cost: £1000 plus ongoing charges (for medication & admin)

Wait time: variable

How to do it: Find a psychiatrist/psychologist and book an assessment.

Ways you can find a psychiatrist/psychologist:

- Join a local neurodivergent facebook group and ask for recommendations or ask friends for a recommendation.

- Type 'adhd diagnosis psychiatrist Bristol (or your town)' into google and contact three different companies to weigh up costs.

After receiving a private diagnosis if you decide to take medication then you will pay monthly for medication and there will be a titration process where you will need to pay for medication reviews. After you have come through the medication process you can ask your GP if they will accept a 'Shared Care Agreement' so that prescribing can be done by your GP (any future medication reviews would still need to be paid for via your private psychiatrist).

Please note - a Shared Care Agreement is not a demand but a request you can make of a GP and they do not have to go ahead with it. GPs are more likely to accept a Shared Care Agreement if the private psychiatrist is a member of the GMC and follows NICE guidelines. Also, GPs are more likely to accept a Shared Care agreement if the documentation passed to the GP is thorough rather than scant.

Before going ahead with a private company, it is worth asking the question:

- 'How many shared care agreements have been accepted/rejected?

- How thorough is the documentation that is passed to the GP for a shared care agreement?


NHS via GP

Cost: Free

Wait time: Years (dependent upon your postcode)

How to do it:

Download and fill in the document attached to this page and take it to a GP appointment. This will help you have the conversation with the GP about your suspected ADHD. You will then be referred for an assessment on the NHS.


NHS via GP using 'Right to Choose'

Cost: Free

Wait time: 6 months to one year

How to do it:

Decide which NHS provider you want to use for your diagnosis. Click here for the list.

​Download and fill in the Self-report scale attached to this page and take it to a GP appointment to discuss possibility of ADHD.

FIRST CONVERSATION WITH GP: If, at the end of this diagnosis journey, you are going to take medication for your ADHD, you need to clarify with your GP whether they would be happy to agree to 'shared care' in principle. This means that they would agree to taking over managing your medication once it has been titrated by the organisation who have given you your diagnosis and done medication titration. (Some GPs may not agree to shared care! If they say no, you'll need to ask to see a different GP who will agree to shared care or use a different company for your diagnosis).

​SECOND CONVERSATION WITH GP: Now that you've found a GP who will agree to 'shared care in principle', the aim of the next conversation is to let your GP know how your daily living and mental health is impacted by your suspected ADHD. You may want to watch some videos to help you capture examples of how your life is impacted.

If your GP has agreed with you, let your GP know that you want to exercise your 'right to choose' and that you will email a letter explaining next steps. (If GP disagrees then please see bottom of this page).

Ask your surgery for their email address.

Edit the template letter and email it to your GP. Attached are template letters for two providers - ADHDUK and Psychiatry UK. (There are other providers but they don't provide a template letter unfortunately).

Phone your GP surgery a week later to ask for confirmation that the letter has been actioned (administration work can sometimes go awry in GP surgeries!).

Wait patiently (!) for your assessment.


Download DOCX • 61KB

Download DOCX • 198KB

Download DOCX • 32KB


(i) Gett a second GP opinion. You can do this formally or informally. Formally by putting in a request to your GP practice. Informally by booking a new GP appointment and requesting a different doctor. If you choose the informal route it is imperative that you tell your second GP of your previous discussion.

(ii) If you have very few options with your own GP service, for instance it is a single GP or very small practice, then you may consider changing GP. The NHS find a GP service is here. There is now an option for an predominately online based NHS GP service. You can learn about that here.

(iii) You can contact ADHDUK to provide you with advice. They are happy to talk to you to see if they can help. Contact page is here.

*This post does not contain details. I have tried to keep the writing minimal for people with potential ADHD. If you would like to learn more details about the diagnosis pathway, I would highly recommend reading more info on ADHD UK.


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