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(UK) Coventry: Hundreds of kids on wait list for ASD diagnosis; officials can't keep up

Feb 7, 2022, BBC News: Three-year wait in Coventry and Warwickshire for child autism diagnosis

Central England More than 130 children have been waiting at least three years for an autism diagnosis at an NHS trust. Figures from Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust showed 714 children waiting for an assessment, including 110 of pre-school age. It had been receiving between 135 and 140 referrals every month but only had capacity to deal with 60 to 64, the trust explained. The waiting times could not be defended, it added. Nuneaton Borough councillors were told of the figures at a meeting on Thursday in the wake of staff shortages, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said. The trust's Helen Stephenson told the meeting the problem was exacerbated by the "significantly high" number of children and adults looking for autism diagnostic assessments. "You can see how those waiting times have started to accrue quite quickly," she said. "Nobody is going to sit here and defend those waits. We shouldn't have those waits." She said the trust was waiting for a funding request but there would be "no quick fix" and that it could take until April 2024 before waiting times could be down to the national target of 13 weeks. Ms Stephenson added: "We are looking at a lead in time of three to four months for recruitment to take place but you have to bear in mind there is a national shortage of qualified physicians so they are having to be recruited and trained."


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