|National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
10 Spring Gardens
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Dear Sir Michael Rawlins(Chair of NICE),Professor Tim Kendall(Spokesperson for NICE and the Royal College of Psychiatry), and the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence Secretariat,
Due to severe ethical concerns of many childcare professionals and my colleagues in education about the lack of scientific rigour for the proposed criteria included in the new DSM-5 and the likely consequence of hugely increased rates of 'false positive' diagnoses for children, when it is published here in May 2013, I started a petition which I now send to you to consider. I am confident you will take this strength of feeling of the 1,000 signatories seriously having debated these issues with Tim Kendall on Womans' Hour last year and heard his expressed concerns on this issue. Our grave concerns were highlighted in the British Psychological Society response to the American Psychiatric Association entitled,"The Future of Psychiatric Diagnosis," (June 2012 and enclosed) to which I contributed and the previous submission in January 2011.
My professional bodies the Association of Educational Psychologists and the British Psychological Society (Division of Educational and Child Psychology) share many of these concerns and have been supportive of the intent behind the petition to urge NICE to issue clear and timely guidance to protect our children in the U.K.This explains, I hope, the deliberately aliterative and powerful title of "Write the wrongs in DSM-5 Please." which was addressed to NICE. Kate Fallon is the General Secretary of the AEP and Dr Christopher Arnold is Chair of the DECP Committee, of which I am a member and I am sure they would both be happy to discuss this key issue with you, at your request.
A growing number of Directors of Safeguarding in Childrens' Services around the country now accept that this is a clear Child Safeguarding issue due to the risk of significant harm that could result from the diagnoses themselves(potential psychological harm) and the resulting higher levels of prescribing of psychotropic medications( potential pharmacological harm from toxicity) We are concerned that over-diagnosis and prescribing of psychotropic drugs has already spread to younger and younger children in our local authorities which our informal surveys and conversations with colleagues have already established.
We collectively feel that NICE should ideally, as a matter of urgency, issue clear and timely guidance to childcare professionals to help them determine the parameters of safe usage for the new Diagnostic Manual, DSM-5, in the U.K.