BBC's ADHD Documentary Has Raised A Lot Of Eyebrows – And Not About The Clinics

Reporter Rory Carson was assessed for ADHD by four different organisations – including the NHS
Reporter Rory Carson was assessed for ADHD by four different organisations – including the NHS

Reporter Rory Carson was assessed for ADHD by four different organisations – including the NHS

There’s a lot of fuss about getting an ADHD diagnosis on social media right now – and for good reason.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a lifelong neurological condition, where an individual usually displays inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

It can be considered a disability under the Equality Act 2010.

ADHD has become a common talking point on platforms like TikTok and Instagram with many of those who have it sharing what their telltale symptoms were.

More than 20 billion TikToks have been shared with the hashtag #ADHD and according to the BBC, there’s been a rise in the number of people seeking assessment over the condition.

But over the weekend, the online conversation escalated after a BBC reporter shared a Panorama investigation showing how he had been diagnosed with it three times by three different private clinics.

Although he’s been criticised online for lying about his symptoms, Rory Carson repeatedly states that he believes he was showing some signs of the condition when he decided to be professionally assessed for ADHD.

The private clinics, Harley Psychiatrists, ADHD Direct and ADHD 360, all offered him a prescription for ADHD medication as a result.

But, after a more in-depth assessment with the NHS – three hours face-to-face where the specialist knew that they would be on camera  – Carson was found not to have ADHD.

The reporter said he was honest with the private clinics and the NHS when they were assessing him.

The Panorama investigation, set to air on Monday night, concluded that private clinics were carrying out limited mental health assessments, prescribing strong drugs for long-term use without advising patients about the side effects or thinking about their medical history.

It also claimed that the NHS is paying for thousands to go to private clinics for assessment, and anyone posting negative reviews of those clinics were threatened with legal action by the private practice.

But, people were pretty furious with the BBC for covering the topic in this way.

Some suggested that the idea it was too “easy” to get an ADHD diagnosis was questionable in itself.

Others questioned the nature of the investigation and why Carson was surprised with his results with the private clinics.

Others quickly pointed out that this is just another sign that the NHS is deeply underfunded and overstretched.

And that the conditions Carson was assessed under were different for the private clinics compared to the NHS.

Then, there’s the argument which is that more people are getting diagnosed due to the growing amount of information out there about the condition.

Others also suggested that the documentary jumped over the enormous waiting lists that many people face when trying to get a diagnosis.

Of course, not everyone was frustrated with the investigation.

But, plenty of people also said that it just highlights how everyone deserves an in-depth assessment from the NHS – rather than just those making a TV documentary.

A BBC spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “Tonight’s Panorama makes clear that ADHD is a recognised condition affecting many adults and it highlights the long waits for assessment and treatment on the NHS in some areas.

“It is an investigation into the way some private clinics diagnose and prescribe ADHD medication following assessments conducted over online video calls.

“Panorama’s research has uncovered serious failings by some clinics and we think there is a clear public interest in broadcasting the findings.

“We will be reflecting serious concerns that have been raised by clinicians specialising in this field as well as individuals who have been diagnosed with ADHD.

“We recognise the profound impact the condition can have on people’s lives have taken great care to ensure the programme doesn’t stigmatise people who have ADHD. We encourage people to watch the documentary.”