For months, I had been waiting for an update on my psychiatrist’s campaign to getting me a special referral to an out of area ADHD clinic in Bristol. Earlier this morning I arrived to a review appointment and found out that despite my psychiatrist being willing to prescribe a specific medicine (one I had been on very successfully in the US), have it flatly refused by my GP (regular doctor), then have the case escalated to NHS funding committees to send me to a specialist 2.5 hours away and out of our county trust, I have been denied access to the very people who specialise in my very real, diagnosed condition. I am sadly unsurprised.
My psychiatrist has done a mountain of paperwork, was prepared to appear in front of the committee (they told her “it looks straightforward, don’t bother” – to which she was cautiously optimistic), and then when she appealed, was denied funding for my referral a second time. She has gone to bat for me (and several other cases for other patients) but my case for being seen by the specialist adult ADHD clinic in Bristol has been shelved.
This leaves me without the medication I know works best for me and my brain, but also leaves others in the county who need adult ADHD care in the lurch as well.
Socialised medicine is a wonderful thing and I can categorically say it has been a blessing to have the NHS, but the mental healthcare situation still leaves people in pain. I am not a pill fiend; I just want to be seen by the right specialist and given the medicine that works best for me – even if it’s not the pill I’m asking for.
So now what? I drop off the rotation. My psychiatrist has told me that I can receive therapy – which she thinks could benefit me – but it is private. That means I need money, as it’s not NHS. I will remain on the best medicine she can prescribe for me (currently Strattera), and if I need her, I’m to let my GP know and I’ll get an appointment.
I can find my own solutions, of course. There are ways to get the medicine I want through indirect channels, meaning, sourcing the pills myself online. This carries risks, but could also be my only way forward in the current climate of budget cuts and privatisation of services in the NHS (thanks a bunch, Tories). Last time I checked, I could purchase a six month supply of Adderall XR for about $250 from a company in another country. It is tempting. Right now, I am sticking to what I’m on, doing my best to rebuild my life and brain, and stop fighting the system.
Although painful to know what I can be like when properly treated, I need to work with what I’ve got. I once built up a successful career by putting in double the effort and hours and I’ll do it again. It may take me a little longer, but I’ll get there. I’ve done it before.