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(UK) Northampton: Hospital has 700 kids on waitlist for ASD diagnosis in order to get services

Aug 12, 2022, Northampton Chronicle: Mother of autistic boy, 2, criticises Northampton General Hospital for 'failing' her son and 700 other children on the waiting list https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/health/mother-of-autistic-boy-2-criticises-northampton-general-hospital-for-failing-her-son-and-700-other-children-on-the-waiting-list-3802735

E. Midlands

According to NGH, there are currently about 700 patients on its autism spectrum disorder waiting list

Emma Wilkinson, from Towcester, has been trying to get an appointment with a paediatrician at the hospital since February this year, so her son can be officially diagnosed and subsequently receive vital specialist speech and language therapy.

According to NGH, the hospital has 23 paediatricians working across a number of departments out of an overall complement of 25.

However, there are about 700 patients on the NGH autism spectrum disorder waiting list who are being seen in referral date order for their assessments.

Emma said: "NGH is failing our children. There is no support. All of our children are now having their appointments backlogged.

"This has had a massive impact on my son. He's still not speaking. He has had no support with his speech or language. He's developed something now where he will eat non-edible things, like chew through walls and wood.

"NGH has a duty of care to my children. The NHS is failing our children. The NGH trust is failing our children. If they haven't got a pediatrician there why can't they send us to Kettering or Milton Keynes or Daventry?"

An NGH spokesman said: “We would like to apologise to Mrs Wilkinson and to all families whose children are waiting for autism assessments.

“Waits for these assessments reflect a historical backlog of Autistic Spectrum Disorder assessments, the effects of Covid-19 on waits, and in addition we have also had two recent consultant paediatrician retirements, and are working hard to recruit to these posts against a backdrop of high national demand for these positions.

“Our existing community paediatricians are working the maximum number of hours they can to help as many children and young people as possible and we are deeply grateful for their continued efforts and hard work….

Emma Wilkinson with her two sons