Search

New funding and staff aim to stop children waiting more than a year for autism assessment

PUBLISHED: 14:23 05 January 2018 | UPDATED: 20:53 05 January 2018

Stock picture of a young boy waiting. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Stock picture of a young boy waiting. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This content is subject to copyright.

Councillors are set to discuss waiting times for assessing children who may have autism, as it was revealed some youngsters were having to wait more than a year to be seen.

Norfolk County Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) will meet next week to discuss how much money is being put towards autism services by commissioners, and quiz chiefs on whether waiting times have improved.

In September last year, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Norfolk agreed to give more money to diagnosing autism, by hiring extra staff to address “increased demand and unacceptably long waiting times”.

But a report prepared for HOSC by the CCGs said there was a lack of applications and two positions out of the four advertised remained unfilled.

Despite this, extra investment was expected to mean 100 specialist sensory assessments - plus 100 follow-ups - could be made available yearly, plus an offer of positive behaviour workshops for all eligible families in Norfolk. It was also expected by April 1, 2019 waiting times for a first appointment would be reduced to 18 weeks.

Anne Ebbage, Norfolk autism developments advisor for charity Autism Anglia, said long waiting times could have drastic effects. She said: “We’ve heard of families where children are waiting for a diagnosis and it gets too much and one of them leaves the family home.”

She added Autism Anglia had been highlighting the problems for many years. Asked whether she thought new investment would help, she said: “I’m hopeful but we do have to wait and see. We know there are more and more children being referred for an assessment so is it ever going to get to the point where they can get all children assessed within the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidelines?”

NICE recommends children and young people be assessed within three months of a referral.

But council papers showed on December 5, there were 125 children who had waited more than 52 weeks to be assessed (down from 164 on August 8). Some 47 of these had appointments booked but 78 still had no appointment. There were 284 assessments in progress (up from 148 in August).

The HOSC is due to meet on Thursday, January 11, at 10am.

Other news

Yesterday, 17:05

A goat was rescued after becoming stuck in a fence in Feltwell, near Brandon.

Yesterday, 11:17

People in Norfolk and Waveney can expect a “shock to the system” this week as temperatures dip sharply after a spell of unseasonably warm weather.

Yesterday, 10:31

An inquest has opened into the death of a 29-year-old man who died in a car crash in south Norfolk.

Yesterday, 09:39

Police are appealing for witnesses to a serious crash after a man was hospitalised with head and chest injuries.

Most Read

Friday, October 19, 2018

Police are appealing for help to trace a man who went missing from Thetford earlier this week.

Read more
Norfolk Police
Yesterday, 09:39

Police are appealing for witnesses to a serious crash after a man was hospitalised with head and chest injuries.

Read more
Addenbrooke's Hospital
Yesterday, 17:05

A goat was rescued after becoming stuck in a fence in Feltwell, near Brandon.

Read more
Friday, October 19, 2018

A man who was jailed after an incident where two of his friends died after taking a legal high has been back in court on new drugs charges.

Read more
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
Thursday, June 16, 2011

Britain’s top judge today signalled a crack-down on knife killings when he refused to reduce the minimum 20-year jail term imposed on a Thetford man who used two blades to murder a fellow drug dealer.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 10°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Thetford and Brandon e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Thetford and Brandon Times weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy