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(UK) E. Anglia sees 50% increase in referrals for ASD diagnosis; year long wait for kids

Oct 18, 2019, East Anglian Daily Times: 'We feel 100% let down' - mum speaks of battle for support for autistic son https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/suffolk-youth-autism-waiting-times-1-6330889 A mum of an autistic boy has described how her family were left struggling to cope while they waited a year for support from services. ShareToni Smith, from Felixstowe, mum to Teddy, 13, who was diagnosed with autism in January, wants to highlight the long wait from an initial referral to seeing someone from the youth autism diagnostic service, which is run by the NHS. Available for young people aged 11-18, the target is to see them within 18 weeks of referral, but the average waiting time is currently 32 weeks (or seven months). A spokesman for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said there are currently 73 young people on the waiting list and commissioners have said pilot programmes have just begun to speed up accessing support. Mrs Smith, 45, a mum-of-three who has previously worked in children and young people's services, said it took 10 months from the referral being put in to being seen. She said the family had to fight to get the referral accepted - which took months - before even getting a diagnosis. And without a diagnosis, she said they were unable to access support. … What the NHS say about the waiting times… Stuart Richardson, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust chief operating officer, said: "The average number of monthly referrals received by the youth autism diagnostic service has increased by almost 50% from 14.5 in 2017 to 26 so far in 2019….