Autistic people wait years for diagnosis in some parts of England

Full story in The Guardian, 18 July 2018.

People with suspected autism are being forced to wait more than two years to be assessed and almost four years to receive their diagnosis, new NHS performance figures have revealed.

The long delays have been criticised as “scandalous” by the former health minister Norman Lamb, who obtained the figures, and “completely unacceptable” by the National Autistic Society.

Under NHS guidelines, children or adults in England who are thought to be autistic are meant to be assessed within three months.

Statistics received by Lamb from NHS mental health trusts in England under freedom of information laws revealed a “postcode lottery”. In 2016-17 an adult had to wait 848 days, and a child 799 days, for their assessment at the Berkshire healthcare NHS foundation trust. Under-18s waited an average of 574 days for their first appointment at the trust.