Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 8 September 2023.

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Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark Chair, Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, Chair, Science, Innovation and Technology Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to reduce waiting times for autism assessments.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)

We expect integrated care boards to have due regard to relevant best practice guidelines when commissioning services, including for autism assessments. The waiting time standard recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is for a maximum waiting time of 13 weeks between a referral for an autism assessment and a first appointment.

On 5 April 2023, NHS England published a national framework and operational guidance for autism assessment services. This guidance will help the National Health Service and local authorities improve autism assessment services and improve the experience for people referred to an autism assessment service. Additionally, in 2023/24, £4.2 million is available to improve services for autistic children and young people, including autism assessment services.

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