top of page

(UK) "England in 'crisis'"; 'simply cannot meet demand' for autism assessments

Feb 2, 2024, Planet Radio: Calls for urgent reform to autism assessments in South Yorkshire

A report claims the system in England is in "crisis"

 There are calls from the former Children's Minister for urgent reform to how children are diagnosed with autism.

Anne Longfield noted the "terrible and damaging consequences" for children's mental health as well as their educational opportunities as backlogs build up in the system.

The first report from her Centre for Young Lives, in partnership with the Child of the North initiative, contains a series of recommendations on changes needed to support autistic children.

The report stated: "A major barrier in our existing systems is the perceived need for a medical diagnosis of autism before any child can receive support."

It argued that the health system "simply cannot meet the demand for all such assessments", and said that "in turn, this can prevent timely access to the essential help a child needs in school".

The report added: "From an educational perspective, this lack of equitable provision can result in children 'failing while waiting' because of system failures."

According to NHS figures published in September 2023, there were 157,809 patients in England with an open referral for suspected autism.

Analysing existing data, the report said the number of children waiting for an autism assessment had tripled since the pandemic.

Charlotte Glaves is a mum-of-four in Sheffield who has 3 children with autism, and tells us she ended up going private in 2021 to get a diagnosis: "This time five years ago the referral was quite straight-forward in terms of of we sent it to the GP, the sent it off and that was accepted….



bottom of page