Hywel Dda has highest number of children in Wales awaiting autism diagnosis
Senedd Member Paul Davies has expressed his frustration at figures which show more than 2,200 children are waiting for an autism diagnosis in west Wales.
Freedom of Information figures show that nearly 1,300 children have waited a year, and 590 more than 24 months for a diagnosis in the Hywel Dda University Health Board area.
Hywel Dda, with 2,241 children waiting, had the highest recorded level of the seven health boards; nearly a third of the 7,258 waiting in Wales.
Betsi Cadwaladr was the only health board not releasing any figures.
Preseli Pembrokeshire Senedd Member Mr Davies said: “It’s unacceptable that children are waiting months – and in some cases years to receive a diagnosis.
"It demonstrates exactly why an Autism Bill is so desperately needed in Wales and had it not been blocked by the Welsh Government, that legislation I believe, would be making a real difference to those waiting for a diagnosis today.”
Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities for Hywel Dda University Health Board Liz Carroll said: “Hywel Dda University Health Board is working to improve neurodevelopmental services, in recognition of the increasing demand for assessment.
“We have successfully undertaken a waiting list initiative to reduce the waiting times and have successfully recruited two companies through robust procurement processes to support us in undertaking diagnostic assessments. The plan is that an additional 800 assessments will be undertaken by 2025 for children and adults.
“We continue to work with the Welsh Government and National Delivery unit to monitor our improvement trajectories and are exploring opportunities for digital innovations and resources which could improve the timeliness of diagnosis and support.
“We continue to progress delivery in respect of the Code of Practice for Autism and improve our service provision by working collaboratively with partner agencies.”
When the Bill was rejected in 2019, health minister Vaughan Gething said, although it was recognised support for autistic people and their families should be improved, the Welsh Government was already developing a new statutory code for improving services.
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