Right To Choose

Information on alternative referral options for ADHD & ASD assessment

If you are based in England under the NHS you now have a legal right to choose your mental healthcare provider and your choice of mental healthcare team, this includes for referrals relating to Autism and ADHD assessment. 

This service is offered through the NHS and is free 

Introduction to Right to Choose referrals

Did you know NHS patients now have a legal right to choose their mental healthcare provider? This important right means that, for instance, should you decide the waiting time for your ADHD or ASD assessment is too long, then you can choose an alternative provider to suit you and your family.

Right to Choose within mental health is a relatively new scheme (since 2018) and as such, many patients are not aware of the options. We have put together this information leaflet for you, to help assist you with your Right to Choose journey.

Who can offer Right to Choose assessments?

There are a number of clinics throughout the UK that can offer Right to Choose ADHD and/or ASD assessments for adults and under 18s. To become a Right to Choose clinic provider, the clinic must supply the same service to the NHS somewhere in England, they cannot be a private only clinic.

The provider’s website is usually a good place to start to find out if they offer the service you need and we have compiled a list in this leaflet of some of the choices for you to consider.

What happens when I have chosen my clinic?

For all Right to Choose referrals, the patient, or their family/carers if under 18, will need to research and select a clinic themselves, it is not something the GP can advise on. Once you have chosen which clinic you would like to have your assessment with, you can either send an email to us to advise the name of the clinic via our secure online form or you can call the secretaries at your registered site, to let them know what service you have chosen.

There will be questionnaires required for all of these services and depending on which provider you choose, will dictate which form you require. Once you have advised us which service you have chosen, we can then let you know which questionnaire(s) you will need to complete before your referral can be sent.

Which providers offer Right to Choose assessments?

This list of providers is constantly changing but currently the below clinics are some of the choices available as at the time of printing this leaflet. This list is non-exhaustive and there may be other clinics you may want to research too.

ADHD Assessment Providers (Over 18s)

  • ADHD 360 offer ADHD assessments for patients aged 18 and over
  • Psychiatry UK offer ADHD and ASD assessments for patients aged 18 and over
  • Dr J & Colleagues offer ADHD and ASD assessments for patients aged 18 and over
  • Clinical Partners offer ADHD and ASD assessments for all patients aged 4+

For more information on ADHD & Right to Choose referrals, the ADHD UK website has some useful information

ADHD Assessment Providers (Under 18s)

  • Psicon (based in Canterbury, Kent) offer ADHD assessments for patients aged 6 to 18
  • Clinical Partners offers ADHD and ASD assessments for patients aged 4+

For more information on ADHD & Right to Choose referrals, the ADHD UK website has some useful information

ASD / ASC / Autism Assessment Providers (Over 18s)

For more information on ASD & Right to Choose referrals, the National Autistic Society website has some useful information

ASD / ASC / Autism Assessment Providers (Under 18s)

  • Psicon (Canterbury) offers ASD assessments for patients aged 3 to 18
  • Clinical Partners offer ADHD and ASD assessments for all patients aged 4+
  • Wellbeing ASD offers ASD assessments for patients aged 18 and under

For more information on ASD & Right to Choose referrals, the National Autistic Society website has some useful information

Things to consider about Right to Choose

It is important to note that many of the clinics mentioned in this leaflet can offer diagnosis but are rarely able to offer medication titration. 

This means that you may be able to obtain a diagnosis with the named clinics, but often you will need a local NHS referral should they find that you need to start medication to control your symptoms. Post-diagnostic support in Kent has a waiting list of around two years, correct at time of printing.

Another important note is that Ludham & Stalham Green will not automatically refer you for post-diagnostic support and therefore if you are told you need medication, please contact the secretaries at your registered site to arrange an onward referral for this.

I am under 18 and I have had a private diagnosis, can I still exercise my Right to Choose?

Yes! If you have received a private diagnosis of Autism and / or ADHD, you would still be eligible for a Right to Choose referral providing:

  • You are not still under the care of a private clinic for the same condition.
  • There is no provision in place for the prescribing of medication for the same condition.

When can you not use Right to Choose?

There are some restrictions on which patients are eligible for a Right to Choose assessment and the below is a list of the reasons you would not be eligible (please note some of these are not relevant to children):

  • You need urgent or emergency treatment – this is often not relevant as there are rarely times when this type of referral is considered urgent, but is still worth noting here
  • You already receive care and treatment for the condition you are seeking an assessment for
  • The organisation or clinical team you’ve chosen does not provide the right care for the condition or cannot see under 18s
  • You are a prisoner or on temporary release from prison
  • You are detained in prescribed accommodation such as a court, secure training centre, immigration removal centre or young offender’s institute
  • You are detained in a secure hospital setting
  • You are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended in 2007)
  • You are a serving member of the armed forces

Process for requesting a Right to Choose referral from your GP

Talk to your GP, have an open and frank conversation about why you think you have ADHD and/or ASD. Talk about any and all mental health concerns you might have. The goal is to help you with your issues and the conversation often will be wider than just the query of ADHD / ASD.

Following that conversation your GP may suggest a referral for an official assessment. The current waiting list in Kent for an over 18s ADHD assessment is around 5 years, over 18s ASD assessment waiting times are around 3 years and the current paediatric waiting time for ADHD / ASD assessments is around 2 years. Usually the referral would come from a school, not the GP. 

Right to Choose will allow you to consider alternative options to avoid waiting so long for a diagnosis and post-diagnostic support and the GP (OR school, where applicable) can arrange the referral.

How much quicker will Right to Choose be?

That depends on which clinic you choose and whether they can offer medication titration, should you need it. Currently, the local waiting times are up to 5 years for over 18s and up to 2 years for under 18s. A general guide for Right to Choose referrals is that assessments can be in as little as 12 weeks and as long as 12 months, which is much quicker than the NHS alternatives!

If a clinic offers diagnosis but not medication titration, then you will need a further referral for post-diagnostic support. The local over 18s waiting list in Kent for this service is around 24 months and around 6-9 months for under 18s.

Unfortunately, this is not something that can be easily avoided as most medications suggested for these conditions are ones that GPs are not allowed to prescribe without the support of a specialist clinic under a Shared Care Agreement.

Why would I choose a Right to Choose referral if I cannot easily obtain medication at the clinic that way?

Many patients feel a diagnosis would be enough to request further support / considerations from school or employers and some patients may not require medication for these conditions at all.

What if I have more questions not answered in this leaflet?

Your GP is a great place to start, or their secretary. Often questions can be answered with a simple phone call to the surgery but if you cannot wait or you would like to look into this further yourself first, please see below a list of websites and resources, to help you on your Right to Choose journey:Information on ADHD:

  • ADHD UK: A charity offering free advice and information on ADHD and Right to Choose referrals
  • ADHD Foundation: The UK’s leading neurodiversity charity, offering services for those who live with ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, DCD, Dyscalculia, OCD, Tourette’s Syndrome and more
  • NHS Website
  • Mind: ADHD and mental health

Information on ASD