Autism: Diagnosis

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 23rd October 2019.

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Photo of Rosie Duffield Rosie Duffield Labour, Canterbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for (a) referral to a specialist for autism diagnosis and (b) an initial assessment for autism and autism spectrum disorders.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

No one should have to face long waits for an autism assessment. We expect services to adhere to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) quality standard which recommends that the length of time between referral and a first appointment to start an assessment should be no more than three months.

We are determined to drive up performance nationally. We will use data on autism diagnosis waiting times, available for the first time later this year, to hold local areas to account where waiting times exceed the NICE standard.

Whilst a diagnosis of autism should happen as soon as possible, it is important to recognise that formulating a diagnosis is often complex and can involve different professionals and agencies.

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