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(UK) NE Lincolnshire: Hundreds of "people" waiting for ASD diagnosis

Jun 16, 2022, Grimsby Live: The number of people waiting for autism assessment has soared in North East Lincolnshire https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/grimsby-news/number-people-waiting-autism-assessment-7210414

NE England

The number of patients waiting for an autism assessment has soared across North East Lincolnshire. In March there were around 340 people with an open “suspected autism” referral. That compares to 180 people in April 2021 - an increase of 89 per cent. …

They can often struggle to recognise or understand other people's feelings and intentions, and that can sometimes make it difficult for them to make and keep friends.

In our area, around 65 referrals had been open for at least 13 weeks, and of those, 25 patients (38%) had received their first appointment within that time, which may have been for an initial assessment or triage.

It comes as NHS figures show there has been a huge increase in the number of people waiting for an autism assessment across England.

Tom Purser, head of guidance, volunteering, and campaigning for the National Autistic Society, said: “These latest NHS figures suggest that over 100,000 people are waiting for an autism assessment in England, which is a big increase on the numbers a year ago….

“The Government must urgently invest in rolling out these services, as set out in the national autism strategy, and make sure that autistic children, adults, and families get the right support.”

Mr Purser warned the figures are still new and don’t yet provide “a complete and accurate picture of just how long people are waiting for a diagnosis across England”….

A Department of Health and Care spokesperson said: “We are investing £5m over the next two years to reduce diagnosis waiting times for autism for children and young people across the country.

“This is in addition to £13 million extra funding we invested last year, which will help develop a national framework with NHS England to ensure children, young people and adults receive higher-quality and faster diagnoses.”

Nationally, there were 100,250 patients with an open referral for suspected Autism in March of this year, a 39% increase from 71,954 in April 2021, which may be due to the pandemic. Of those, 82,076 had been open for at least 13 weeks.

The number of people receiving their first appointment within 13 weeks has steadily increased, from 5,640 in April 2021, to 7,536 in March 2022, a rise of 34 per cent.

The proportion of people receiving an appointment within 13 weeks has also increased slightly, from 9.2 per cent in April 2021, to 9.5 per cent - but that still means that fewer than one in 10 patients were seen within three months in March.

Tom Purser, head of campaigns and public engagement at the National Autistic Society

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