York & North Yorkshire

North Yorkshire trust 'sorry' for autism diagnosis delays

A primary care trust has apologised to parents in part of North Yorkshire who have been waiting more than two years to get their children diagnosed with autism.

An audit revealed 41 children across Scarborough, Ryedale and Whitby have faced an excessive wait for diagnosis.

NHS Yorkshire and the Humber declared the matter a "serious incident".

North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust, the body responsible, apologised and said it was addressing the problem.

Cheryl Newton, whose son Luke has been on the waiting list for assessment for more than a year, said something needed to be done.

'Complex process'

She said: "We want to know that it's not us going mad, it's not our bad parenting, there's something the matter, and it will also help him access the services that will help him.

"We've had to do an awful lot of research ourselves and it's just frustrating, stressful and causes arguments between myself and my husband.

"We don't know how to handle him, it's just trial and error, we've got no-one telling us."

The primary care trust said it had allocated extra funds to make sure the 41 patients were given a diagnosis by April 2012.

Julie Bolus, interim director of nursing, said: "We'd like to apologise to those families in the Scarborough area who have been waiting a long time for a diagnosis of autism for their children.

"To obtain a formal diagnosis of autism is a lengthy and complex process which requires input from a range of health professionals including consultant paediatricians.

"The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence only issued guidance on autism spectrum disorder in the last few weeks.

"Whilst the majority of our service provision complies with this new guidance, we recognise that there is work to be done to make sure autism diagnostic services are equitable across North Yorkshire and York."

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