Neurodiversity: Children

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 27 June 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Hodgson of Abinger Baroness Hodgson of Abinger Conservative

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of current NHS wait times for neurodiversity assessments for children; and what steps they are taking to reduce them.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

No specific assessment has been made. NHS England publish quarterly experimental data on how many people, including children, are waiting for an autism assessment. Whilst we recognise that a significant percentage of autism assessments for children are reported through the Community Services Data Set, which is currently not reported on within this publication, the reported data provides useful information to support local areas to assess local demand and adequacy of services.

Additionally, in a Westminster Hall debate, on 1 February 2023, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health and Women's Health Strategy at the Department of Health and Social Care committed to look at how we can improve data on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) assessment waiting times, to help improve access to ADHD assessments in a timely way and in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines. On 5 April 2023, NHS England published a national framework and operational guidance for autism assessment services. This guidance, published in an online only format, will help the NHS improve their autism assessment pathways and improve the experience for children and young people referred to an autism assessment service.

This year, 2023/2024, £4.2 million is available to improve services for autistic children and young people, including autism assessment services and pre- and post-diagnostic support, and the continuation of the Autism in Schools programme. We are committed to increasing investment into mental health services by at least £2.3 billion a year by March 2024 and have set out our aim in the NHS Long Term Plan for an additional 345,000 children and young people to be able to get the mental health support they need.

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