Suffolk County Council pledges ‘urgent review’ of autism and ADHD services amid increasing waiting times
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Suffolk County Council has called for an urgent review of autism and ADHD services in the county amid an increase in diagnosis waiting times.
At Suffolk County Council’s full council meeting in December, councillors unanimously backed a motion to review the services for autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Services are commissioned by Suffolk’s clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and carried out by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
Speaking at the meeting, councillor Gordon Jones said: “Children’s mental health is the poor relation to the NHS. This motion is about waiting times for diagnoses, and this is a matter for heath services, not in the remit of Suffolk County Council.
“However, we are in active conversations with health [services] for ADHD and autism diagnoses.”
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The motion said that increased pressure on the council’s budget meant a review was “vital” to ensure the services were providing best value for money.
Labour councillor Sarah Adams said: “I think it’s hugely important that we do stand together on this,” and added “all of us agree that we should be looking after the most vulnerable people in Suffolk”.
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The motion argues that autism and ADHD conditions “severely limit mainstream opportunities” for children, and added that waiting times for a diagnosis are increasing, leaving families without adequate support for longer.
As part of the motion which received cross-party support, the council has pledged to refresh its strategy and create a new action plan for it, as well as consider forming a centre of excellence in diagnosing these conditions and continue work to establish a high quality specialist school specifically for those with autism and ADHD.
A spokesman for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, said: “We anticipate hearing further from Suffolk County Council regarding this particular motion.
“Both CCGs continue to work with partners including the county council and the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust to ensure the best of care and support for those living with autism and ADHD.”