October 22, 2021
Gildernew deeply concerned at delays in Autism assessments

Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew MLA has expressed his growing concern delays in children getting assessments for Autism.

And the Chair of the Assembly Health Committee said it was unacceptable that health trusts were unwilling to appear before the health committee to discuss an amendment to the Autism Act.

Colm Gildernew said:

“The Health Minister confirmed that there are over 6,970 children waiting for an assessment for autism across the north. Tragically many families are being encouraged to seek a private diagnosis costing up to £1400.

“The differences between trusts are shocking with the South Eastern Trust having 313 waiting and both the Northern and Belfast Trust having over 2,400 children waiting. 

“We know that a delayed diagnosis can affect access to support services and impact on education and the wider family. 

“I was deeply disappointed at the lack of willingness from Trusts to publicly brief the health committee on their views to proposed amendments to the Autism Act and future autism strategy.

“I am further disappointed at the late submission of papers to the committee giving members little time to consider. 

“This is unacceptable.

“I do not believe the last minute information being provided to the health committee is a fair reflection of the scale and the importance of reform to Autism services and future strategy.”

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