Autism: Avon and Wiltshire

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 19 October 2023.

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Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland Conservative, South Swindon

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he plans to take to reduce the waiting list for autism assessments in Avon and Wiltshire.

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 (ICBs) to have due regard to relevant National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines on autism when commissioning services. It is the responsibility of ICBs to make available appropriate provision

Each ICB in England is expected to have an Executive Lead for learning disability and autism, supporting the board in planning to meet the needs of its local population of people with a learning disability and autistic people, including in relation to appropriate autism assessment pathways. NHS England has published guidance on these roles.

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 improve autism assessment pathways and improve the experience for people referred to an autism assessment service.

In addition, NHS England publish quarterly data on how many people are waiting for an autism assessment and for how long. These are experimental statistics; however, the data does provide useful information nationally and locally to support local areas to improve their performance and to reduce assessment waiting times.

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