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(UK) Scottish mom waits 4 yrs for ASD diagnosis; now on waiting list for services

Mar 23, 2021, Scotland Daily Record: 'Four-year wait for my son’s ADHD and autism diagnosis'

A Perthshire mum fears parents being asked to “opt in” for medical help for their child could lead to children being put at risk. Last week Angela Bailey was horrified to receive a letter saying her son would be removed from NHS Tayside’s mental health services waiting list if she did not reply within three weeks. Seven-year-old Noah has been awaiting official diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and autism for over four years. The Inchture mum first sought help for her son Noah when he was aged just three. After years of appointments with child development teams and other specialities Noah was referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in August 2019. His referral was accepted by CAMHS in December 2019 and Noah was added to the waiting list. The family has been given a provisional diagnosis of autism and ADHD but has been awaiting meeting with the multi-disciplinary teams at CAMHS for official diagnosis. Angela said: “We were given a provisional diagnosis of autism and ADHD 18 months ago. We have been living with the signs of it for longer.” She said lockdown had been “incredibly hard” with the lack of support for her son. Noah needs to see CAMHS before the family and his school can receive help. But what upset Angela most was being asked to “opt in” for help after having submitted detailed evidence to CAMHS from three separate bodies - the child development team, a paediatrician and his school. An NHS Tayside letter last week addressed to the parent/carer of Noah asked that if he still required help they complete the attached response and send it in the enclosed stamped address envelope within three weeks - or else Noah would be removed from the waiting list. Angela said: “It’s not down to parents to decide whether their child needs to be seen by medical professionals, it’s down to medical professionals.” Angela contacted The PA because she was concerned some children might not get the help they need if their parents/carers did not respond to the letter in time…. Angela wrote: “The letter suggests that due to the time that has passed, we may have had a change in circumstances that means we no longer need this referral. This seems a rather Victorian view of mental health issues to me. “They are assuming that a child, struggling with mental health may well just grow out of it. The only thing achieved by this, is knocking problems down the line, where they may be more severe, and more difficult to deal with.” A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said: “We have been in direct contact with the family of this patient to address their concerns and have apologised for any distress this may have caused. “Waiting times for neurodevelopmental services within CAMHS are longer than we would like, however there is a robust plan in place to improve this. “From time to time we make sure our waiting lists across a range of our services are accurate and that all patients listed still require an appointment. It is common practice across all NHS boards in Scotland to check that all patients on waiting lists should be there.”


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