The Department has discussed with NHS England the difficulties that people on the autistic spectrum can have in getting an appropriate diagnosis in a timely manner. With support from the Department, NHS England and the Association of Directors of Social Services will undertake a series of visits to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to gather information that can be shared between areas that have arrangements in place to meet National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Quality Standard 51 Autism: support for commissioning and those that do not, with the aim of supporting more consistent provision. These NICE guidelines already recommend that there should be a maximum of three months between a referral and a first appointment for a diagnostic assessment for autism. We expect the National Health Service to be working towards meeting the recommendations.
NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG is working with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust to refine their autism pathway, from diagnosis through to therapy and support if appropriate, to be in line with the NICE recommendations. In October 2013, Sheffield CCG commissioned a service to be NICE compliant. However, the service has received a higher volume of referrals than had been anticipated, and is currently the subject of a review to ensure the right model and level of service is delivered in Sheffield.We are not aware of any issues in Carshalton and Wallington.