I remind the chamber of my diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
In June 2018, I sent ministers a copy of a letter that NHS Grampian sent to an adult denying them an assessment for ADHD, baldly stating that the board did not assess adults as a matter of policy. Despite assurances made to both Clare Haughey and me that the policy would change, on 23 October this year, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman upheld a complaint against NHS Grampian for that continued practice. In its report, the ombudsman stated:
“We also found that their approach was not in keeping with the relevant clinical guidance or the Scottish Government’s mental health strategy”.
The ombudsman also required the immediate reinstatement of an interim regime for assessments.
I am concerned that that practice is confined neither to ADHD nor to NHS Grampian. I have received reports of the practice happening elsewhere in Scotland and for conditions such as autism.
Will the First Minister contact NHS Grampian as a matter of urgency, to ensure that the measures that I mentioned are put in place? Will she urgently probe whether other health boards are also carrying out the practice of denying adults assessments? For me, diagnosis was a vital first step in transforming my life and that of my family, so does she agree that nobody should be denied that opportunity through being denied an assessment for ADHD or autism as an adult?
The short answer is that I agree with all Daniel Johnson’s points. Today, I will make sure that NHS Grampian is contacted. I would expect the health board to take account of and implement the recommendations that the ombudsman has made. I will ask the health secretary to look into the wider issues in terms of the practices and approaches of other health boards. I also agree that diagnosis is vital to allowing people to take the steps that they need to take and have the support and treatment that they need to live full lives with a condition.
I know that the health secretary would be happy to meet with Daniel Johnson, if that would be of interest to him, to discuss how those issues can be taken forward. I thank him for raising what I know is an important issue not just to him personally, but to many people across the country.