“Unacceptable” Waiting Times For Autism Assessment In Yorkshire

Early Diagnosis Is Critical Milestone For Children


Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

Leading public law specialists at Irwin Mitchell have called the wait for an initial assessment in Yorkshire for children identified as potentially autistic ‘unacceptable’.

Research by the BBC found that of the 2,026 children in Yorkshire in need of assessment, 913 have exceeded the target timeline of three months.   

NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had the longest average wait at 47 weeks.

Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.

Of the 190 children in current need of assessment, 148 have already waited for more than three months.

A spokesperson for The National Autistic Society (NAS) said long delays could be "devastating" for families and as a result said one in 10 people end up paying for a private diagnosis.

Yogi Amin, a public law expert at Irwin Mitchell said he is surprised by the findings and has urged the authorities to look into the delays straight away.

Expert Opinion
“Getting an early diagnosis is a critical milestone for people with autism and can unlock the door to identifying the right support.

It’s unacceptable to see the findings of the research and the NHS must consider changes immediately.

“We’ve worked with a number of clients who were not able to access NHS support and assessment for autistic disorders even though they showed many of the symptoms. With our help they’ve been able to access the support that they were previously denied and it’s made a big difference to their lives.

“When your child is acting and behaving differently to other children it is a very challenging and worrying period for any parent and having to wait to see an expert and find out the answers you’re desperately searching for only make the process more fraught.

“We understand that the NHS is under pressure in many areas but after setting a target of three months for an initial assessment it is worrying to see so many children in Yorkshire having to wait much longer than that. Such delays could be held to be unlawful.”
Yogi Amin, Partner