This week there was a worrying report out that Autism diagnoses could be reduced under a new NHS plan for the South West London area. Only a proposal to be considered at this time so no definite action for now but how does that make you feel? Just seeing the words ' diagnosis' and 'reduced' put fear into me.
The National Autistic Society are deeply concerned as I think everyone would be after reading the article. This is a service who consider themselves under intense pressure with waiting times up to ten months. They forecast around 750 assessments a year but are actually dealing without twenty five referrals a week.
I think this is a pattern that is happening in many areas but to cut them down? How does that work? So we just ignore everyone else and let them just cope? Receiving a diagnosis not only allows a person to have access to vital services it can give relief and peace of mind to the whole family. I can understand that the NHS has to make sure people are receiving the correct diagnosis but this cannot come down to money, people have to come first.
It is a service under immense pressure and professionals are working hard and doing their best in these circumstances, yes it needs improvement and I realise it does come down to funding but we cannot compromise peoples lives and allow them to suffer. Lets find a way to improve rather than making these cuts, preventing people and families becoming even more vulnerable.
We realise now that other health issues can branch off from Autism, such as ADHD, dyspraxia, sensory processing, anxiety and depression to name a few and when it comes to depression we are trying to strive forward to improve on mental health issues not ignore it. This is reversing the process instead of positively moving on and helping within this field, especially when it comes to children.
The diagnosis stage cannot be compromised and it is a service that we cannot afford to lose so I would want people to come together and value it's importance, it is a cut to the NHS that cannot happen. It's hard isn't it when the government has to pull in the purse strings somewhere but surely this can come without taking away vital services. More research needs to be done regarding Autism, it will continue to be a fascinating subject. Why are the referrals increasing? Is it because we are more aware? I think it could be detrimental to an individual to let them go without diagnosis, even harmful and they may feel failed by the system so let's make sure this doesn't happen.
It hasn't happened yet, again these are just proposals so lets not panic but keep vigilant and see what happens in the future. I for one will be watching how this progresses as I do feel very worried for other families. If you haven't seen the article it can be seen online here
I would love to hear your views, feel free to leave me a comment......
Thanks for reading and I'll be back for my tv feature 'Pass the Remote' tomorrow.
Every Saturday will be about Autism, family and life.