New investment in autism services will reduce waiting times in Devon

Increased investment in autism services for both adults and children in Devon has been secured. The additional funding of £750,000 has been made available for two years and will be specifically used to increase capacity so that there are skilled practitioners able to undertake autism spectrum disorder (ASD) assessments of those families and children currently waiting for an assessment.

We know that waiting times for an autism assessment are currently too long and the demand for children’s assessments has increased significantly year on year (79% increase from 2016/17 to 2018/19).

Despite this increasing demand, the current service provider has reviewed how it undertakes assessments and improved the process by introducing additional evening and weekend clinics, as well as reducing the length of time taken to complete an assessment.

Despite these efforts, it is still challenging to keep up with demand. However, you may not need a diagnosis of ASD to access support services.

In addition to this investment, the NHS and local authority partners across Devon, Torbay and Plymouth have also agreed to further investment for post-diagnostic multi-disciplinary system and local support, along with the investment in pre-diagnostic support for people waiting for an assessment for a diagnosis.

Predominantly this is focused on adult services, however we recognise the importance of transition periods and we have ensured that those from age 14 years above will benefit from the changes. Partners are currently working on proposals for the use of this investment.

Working with adult services is a key priority and there has been focus on reviewing and developing training for those working in our services.