Hundreds of children in Wales left waiting for Autism diagnosis
800 children in Wales have been waiting more than two years for autism diagnoses, new research has revealed.
The figures were revealed following a Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Conservatives.
In Wales, there are currently 7,258 children on waiting lists to find out if they are on the autism spectrum.
Two thirds have waited over six months whilst 40% percent have waited over a year.
22% have been on waiting lists for over 18 months and 11% have been waiting for a diagnosis for over two years.
The final figure is likely to be higher but North Wales’ Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board refused to provide figures.
In September, over 10,000 patients had waited over 14 weeks for diagnostic and therapies services at Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, the second highest figure in Wales.
The Office for National Statists estimates that one in 100 people in the UK have Autism.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Mental Health Minister, James Evans MS said: “Whilst it is understandable that Covid has impacted waiting times, no one would agree it is acceptable for children and parents to wait several months, even years, for an autism diagnosis.
“That diagnosis could be key to giving a child the support they need in their schools and at home, with teachers and parents feeling more confident in helping them too.
Although there is no cure for Autism, studies have found that early diagnosis benefits both the parents and children and provides them with the support they need.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are working with people with neurodevelopmental conditions, their families and professionals to make long-term improvements to neurodivergence services across Wales.
“We have committed an additional £12m over three years to improve services, while strengthening support for families and carers who are waiting for an assessment, including £1.4 million this year to address immediate pressures on services.”
Last month, the Welsh Government held engagement events across Wales to hear views about potential reforms to the system from professionals, parents and carers.
A summary of the feedback received will be published by the Welsh Government.
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