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Autism: Children

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 64635, tabled on 27 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the average waiting time for an autism assessment for children in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce average waiting times for autism assessments in those areas.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

1 December 2021

It is not possible to reliably estimate the average waiting time for children to complete an assessment for autism in Coventry, the West Midlands and England from the data currently collected by NHS Digital. Children and young people are largely out of scope of the current data collection. Available data shows that during Quarter 4 of 2020/21, there were a total of 9,055 new referrals for suspected autism among under 18 year olds recorded in England. Of these, approximately 12% or 1,060 received a first appointment in 13 weeks or less and 4% or 360 received a first appointment between 13 and 26 weeks.

To reduce diagnosis waiting times for children and young people across England, we are investing an additional £10.5 million in 2021/22 as part of the COVID-19 Mental Health and Wellbeing Recovery Action Plan and the NHS Long Term Plan. Local systems are using this funding to improve different diagnostic pathways. In addition, through our new autism strategy, we are funding an early identification pilot in which healthcare and education staff working together to assess children who may be autistic more quickly within schools.

Named day
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