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Autism: Lancashire

Question for Department of Health

UIN 12595, tabled on 20 October 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps (a) his Department and (b) NHS England are taking to ensure that autism diagnosis waiting times for (i) children and (ii) adults meet National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance in (A) Lancaster and (B) Fleetwood.

Answered on

28 October 2015

The Department has discussed with NHS England the difficulties that people on the autistic spectrum can have in getting an appropriate diagnosis in a timely manner. With support from the Department, NHS England and the Association of Directors of Social Services will undertake a series of visits to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) where there is good practice in meeting the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Quality Standard 51 Autism, and to those that do not, with the aim of supporting more consistent provision. These NICE guidelines already recommend that there should be a maximum of three months between a referral and a first appointment for a diagnostic assessment for autism. We expect the National Health Service to be working towards meeting the recommendations.

In Lancashire North CCG which covers Lancaster the average wait for adults for an assessment is 12 weeks which is in line with the NICE guidelines. While there are 34 children waiting for a specialist multi-agency autism assessment, additional funding has been allocated and a recovery plan is in place to clear this backlog. The CCG is also in discussions with their providers to agree how the multi-agency assessment process for children and young people can be improved. In Fylde and Wyre CCG the average waits for adults and children is in line with the NICE guidelines.