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(UK) Bristol: Tightening eligibility for autism services; 350% increase in demand

Mar 14, 2023, BBC News: Fewer Bristol children eligible for NHS autism diagnosis

SW England

Fewer children will be eligible to get an autism diagnosis from the NHS.

Only those who meet certain criteria are able to be referred for an autism diagnosis at the NHS in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Sirona, which runs the service in the area, said it had to narrow the criteria due to a 350% increase in demand.

Some parents have launched the campaign Assess for Autism to protest the decision. The Bristol group said it intended to launch legal proceedings against the area Integrated Care Board….

A spokesperson for Assess for Autism said: "Families were not consulted on these changes and as such, swift legal action is the only recourse we have to get this policy changed." Sirona said children currently being seen have waited over two years for an autism assessment.

In a statement sent to Radio Bristol, Sirona said: "We have reviewed our processes and criteria to ensure that those children with the highest needs could be seen more quickly and we will continue to work with our partners and our funders to identify ways of reducing the overall wait times for all families.


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