Deeply concerning news of the NHS’ plans to potentially restrict ASD diagnoses to only the most severe cases.


Earlier in May proposals to “reduce the number of children being diagnosed with autism” were being considered by NHS commissioners in south-west London. However, the local alliance of five clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) says nothing has yet been decided.

Board papers from a meeting of the south-west London St. George’s mental health trust “described a service under intense pressure, with waiting times for autism diagnoses of more than 10 months”. Teams are usually supposed to carry 750 assessments per year, however this has become almost double, with about 25 referrals a week. The board papers show that NHS commissioners, who are responsible for funding the services, have asked the trust to review who is eligible for the service.

The National Autistic Society has written in protest to the local CCG’s, saying that if these cuts in diagnoses go ahead they will leave many local children without access to a diagnosis and thus render them unable to access the specialist support they are in desperate need of. This will further “threaten their long-term prospects and put them in a greater strain on many already vulnerable families.”

Although the CCG’s have said that nothing has been decided, or will be decided for at least another 12 months, this news is deeply concerning.



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