BC Medical Association

BC Medical Association

February 23, 2009 12:30 ET

BC Medical Association: ADHD-The Sleeper Illness That Affects More People Than We Realize

BCMA proposes recommendations to rectify this

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - Less than half of British Columbia's estimated 30,900 youth with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) receives either an accurate diagnosis or regular medical treatment. As well, patients properly diagnosed with ADHD have found that demand for effective health services greatly exceeds the supply. This can result in serious social consequences: crime, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, delinquency and traffic accidents; and economic consequences: more than $500 million each year just to pay for direct health, education and justice related costs.

In its just released paper, Your Attention, Please: A Call to Improve Access to Care for ADHD Patients, the BC Medical Association makes eight recommendations to improve the health care that ADHD patients receive.

"Basically, ADHD patients encounter two main difficulties - too many patients with ADHD are not being diagnosed properly, and of those patients that are diagnosed, not enough are being appropriately treated," said Dr. Shelley Ross, chair of the BCMA's Council on Health Economics and Policy that developed the paper. "Not only is quality of life deteriorating for those left untreated with ADHD, but the social and economic consequences are exacerbating. This must be corrected."

The three key recommendations that this paper makes to rectify this decline are:

- The provincial government must provide services for adults with ADHD, and provide follow-up services for children who graduate from the only ADHD treatment centre in the province

- Funding for ADHD services should be increased to guarantee waitlists of less than three months for all ADHD patients

- The provincial government should work with stakeholders to ensure that any new child mental health plan includes a strategic plan for the delivery of services specifically for patients with ADHD

More prevalent than depression, and only second in line behind anxiety, the province has no specific strategic direction for ADHD unlike it does for a half a dozen other mental health disorders. Although the BC government spends more on mental health issues than any other Canadian province, the division of responsibility for ADHD is currently spread between the Ministry of Health Services and the Ministry of Children and Family Development, as well as the Provincial Health Services Authority, which means fragmented care, loss of efficiencies, and ADHD remaining as a lower mental health priority.

Contact Information

  • BC Medical Association
    Sharon Shore
    Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations
    (604) 638-2832 or (604) 306-1866
    Website: www.bcma.org