We have always committed to listening, learning and reviewing our approach and we continue to recognise the concerns and anxieties of children, young people and their families in the communities we serve.
Since the changes were introduced on 1 March for autism assessments, there have been further significant developments:
- Direct concerns raised by parents, partners and local politicians
- The publication of the National Framework for Autism Assessment Services
- ‘Letter before Action’ on behalf of a group of concerned parent/carers
- Agreement of £1m funding for the continuation of a waiting list initiative for autism assessments.
In addition, we are also at the final stages of our approval process for a system wide transformation programme to ensure that all partners in health, education, local authorities, parents and families work together to consider how we can deliver services differently so that all children with neurodiversity can have their needs met in a timely way.
We have recognised the strength of the anxiety that the changes brought and, in the context of these and the subsequent developments, we are now planning to immediately re-start accepting referrals as per the previous criteria although we will continue to triage referrals based on clinical need and vulnerability as we have always done.
The intention remains to ensure that children with the most clinical need and vulnerability have access to timely clinical support whilst also ensuring those other children do have access to services as soon as possible.
Over the coming days we will be updating our website further and writing to those families referred since 1 March 2023.
Our dedicated helpdesk will stay in place to support you and it can be contacted on email@example.com or 0300 125 5560 Monday to Friday during office hours.