In Rotherham we know that families are waiting too long for their assessment. This is reflected in other areas across the country. NHS partners are working together to understand the current high demand for ASD diagnosis. We want to make sure services are right for children and families whether there is a diagnosis or not.
We need to add capacity into the system and are now offering further choice using new technology to undertake a diagnosis. As part of the ASD diagnosis process, NHS Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group (RCCG) has asked Healios to work with RDaSH, the current provider, to offer an option of online diagnosis where this appropriate for the individual, based on need. Healios are working across the country to help families through similar assessment processes. Their clinicians are highly trained and experienced in autism assessments.
There are limited appointments available for assessment with Healios. We know that the online assessment will not suit all families and there are also criteria regarding who will be offered it as a choice. The criteria are based on length of waiting period and those who may benefit the most from an online assessment. Over the next few months, families who meet the criteria will be sent a letter offering the option of an online assessment.
We are introducing the Healios services gradually to make sure the service is right for children and families in Rotherham. We will continually evaluate the success of the service for Rotherham and will determine whether it is in everyone’s best interest for it to be extended in the future. This forms part of a wider action plan to improve services for children with ASD/potential ASD and overtime this additional capacity should help to reduce waiting times, alongside the work being undertaken to understand the demand for ASD services.
Parents and carers can download a leaflet below with information on the Autism assessment.